How To Deal With Uncooperative Patient

Written by Pliro
Dec 15, 2016 Last updated: Dec 17, 2016

Have you ever dealt with patients who are really tough to handle? Some may have really complicated concerns and problems. And some may even decide to ignore your recommendations and advice and do what they feel is best. It is an invitation for you to innovate. Learn to accept your patients’ wishes that go against your training.

Understand the Individual:

First, try to understand the type of individual who comes to your practice. Some patients will be extremely uncooperative and may not listen to your advice. They will behave as if only they themselves are the best judge of their situation.

The second group of individuals that fall under the same category are the non-compliant patients. These are the patients who genuinely wish and seek to change but seem to fall short of actually doing so and improving. For example, these are the patients who will not take their medicine, attend further follow-up appointments, and do what they need to do to either prevent or treat their illness.

So, how do you deal with a non-cooperating patient? First of all, it is important to remember that any competent and mentally sound patient has the right to refuse care and as a result, no treatment or procedure (whether diagnostic or surgical, big or small) can be done without the patient’s consent.

Try to Explain Your Case:

If a patient refuses treatment which you believe is necessary to improving his health, it is your duty as a doctor to explain to the individual your reasons for the recommended care and the potential risks if that recommendation is not followed. In most cases it is just a communication issue that causes a patient to say no from a treatment. In majority of cases, the patient doesn’t understand what is being done to them or why they need it. This is a good opportunity to teach the patient about their condition and how the suggested procedure will help them.

Your explanation should be completely detailed, providing sufficient information for the patient to understand the implications of deciding to forgo treatment. If you can determine the underlying reason for the refusal, you may be able to remove or at least lower the barriers to receiving further care. However, despite your efforts, if the patient refuses,you cannot proceed.

Cooperate with the Patient:

Finally, what should you do about the non-compliant patient? The individual who accepts all your prescriptions but they won’t take their medication? The natural tendency in this case is to tell the patient to take responsibility, to do the right thing for themselves and their health. However, try to work with the patient in a bit more cooperative manner. Try find out is what obstacles and difficulties they face and what is preventing them from doing the right thing.

In both instances, working with both the non cooperating patients and the non-compliant patients can be difficult. It can be frustrating to work with them, but you have to make a really sincere effort in both cases. Ostracizing the patient is not the right option. Only by going the extra mile will the patients reach their health care goal.