Care plans: Why are they so hard to stick to?

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Research suggests that many people struggle to stick to their care plans.

A review of studies on adherence to medical treatments found that adherence rates ranged from 30% to 80% depending on the condition and the treatment plan, with an average adherence rate of 50%. (1) That is not great news for patients whose health and recovery is often linked to their care plan adherence.

So why is it so hard?

There are a range of different factors that influence adherence, including the type of care plan, the health condition, the level of support, and individual factors. While patients and their carers can not control all of these factors, it is helpful to be aware of some of the main issues so that problems can be pre-empted where possible.

Key influences of care plan non-adherence are:

  • Lack of understanding: People may not fully understand their care plans or the instructions provided to them by their healthcare providers.
  • Forgetfulness: People may forget to take their medications or perform other tasks as prescribed in their care plans due to memory issues, a busy schedule, or other distractions.
  • Lack of motivation: People may not feel motivated to follow their care plans if they don’t see immediate benefits or if they feel that the tasks are too difficult or time-consuming.
  • Denial: People may deny that they have a health problem or may not fully understand the severity of their condition, which can lead them to not take their care plans seriously.
  • Lack of support: People may not have adequate support from their family or friends to help them follow their care plans.

Given the current documented rates of non-adherence, and recognising the complexity of the topic, it is exciting to note that even partial adherence to a care plan can still have benefits for the patient’s overall health.

This means that improving adherence to some aspect of the care plan – if not all – can still have measurable benefits.

By addressing a range of common factors that influence care plan compliance, Gather Group technology pre-emptively ‘plugs the gaps’ in home-based care plan management. Through providing education and support, building social connection, engaging a personal care network, sharing the burden of care, and using reminders and other tools to help with adherence, our technology can immediately address common barriers that may prevent compliance.

We are on a mission to use technology, nudge theory, shared accountability and social connection to improve adherence for all patients… even if for some this is just by a small amount.

In the world of care plans, a small change is measurably better than no change.

  1. Sabate, E. (2003). Adherence to Long-Term Therapies: Evidence for Action. World Health Organization.

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