The Psychological Perspective on Adherence
The World Health Organization (WHO) define adherence to long term therapy as “the extent to which a person’s behaviour – taking medication, following a diet, and/or executing lifestyle changes, corresponds with the agreed recommendations from a health care provider.”1
WHO places strong emphasis on the need to differentiate adherence from compliance. The main difference being that adherence requires the patient’s agreement to the recommendations, whereas compliance is the process of doing what is ordered. WHO believes that patients should be active partners with health professionals in their own care and that good communication between patient and health professional is a must for effective clinical practice.
In his presentation Dr O’Toole discusses the theory behind adherence and some practical options to help deal with this issue.
1. World Health Organization. Adherence to long-term therapies: evidence for action. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2003.
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Dr Daniel O’Toole
Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Head of Adult Clinical Health Psychology