The cost of non-compliant patients

money-bag-onlyOh, the humanity! As nurses, we work with all kinds of different people; we work with sweet little old ladies who listen, belligerent old men who don’t, and everyone in between.

Generally, most of our patients want to get better: they listen, think, and follow our advice.

However, we have a lot of patients who don’t, and they drive me mad!

As a society, we have to make a choice: should we continue to pay for the care of non-compliant patients?

Diabetes Mellitus II

I hate DM; it’s just a nasty disease. Yet, a lot of my patients ignore their diet, seldom check their blood glucose and/or their feet; most of my DM patients have diabetic neuropathy with chronic non-healing wounds, some of which end in amputation. And, most of my patients don’t pay for their care. We do.

Cardiovascular Disease

Most people don’t know this, but cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. In 2008, the World Health Organization estimated that 17.3 million people died from cardiovascular disease.

And, as you know, cardiovascular disease is totally preventable; we choose to eat recklessly and play Russian Roulette with our vascular system.

Nevertheless, I view cardiovascular disease like this: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

If you’re post MI or CVA and still continue to smoke, eat carelessly, and remain sedentary, I’m unsure if we should continue to pay for your care.

The Future

As a nurse, it drives me totally nuts when my patients refuse to take responsibility for their own care. I will work with my patients and educate them until I’m blue in the face, but if they don’t care, why should I?

Due to an ever decreasing number of resources, the healthcare providers of the future might have to triage patients based on their willingness to adapt, change, and remain compliant.

In the future, we may have to reclassify some of the walking wounded, as dead men walking.

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