3 Ways to Support Supplement Adherence
When a patient’s outcomes aren’t meeting goals, you may be tempted to escalate or modify the treatment plan. Before you change things up too much, it may be worth having a deeper conversation with your patient to see if supplement non-adherence may be a factor. Careful, though: what you say may not be as important as how you say it.
Here are three ways to gain insight into patient behavior and coach patients on improving supplement adherence.
1. Reframe your questions
How you ask your question is as important as what question you ask. Leading with, “Are you taking your supplements every day?” may not open the door wide enough for an honest answer. By reframing your question in a more specific, relatable way, such as “When you feel like your symptoms are under control, do you change the way you’re taking your supplements?” or “Taking supplements every day is a hassle for some people. Do you ever feel burdened about sticking to your regimen?” you’ll have a better understanding of what obstacles your patient feels they are facing.
2. Expand your definition of nonadherence
Actually forgetting to take supplements is probably true for some patients, but for others the decision not to take them may be more personal or specific. Issues with cost, safety or side effects are possible reasons treatment plans may not be followed to the letter. Confusion about why you’re recommending a particular supplement, a combination of supplements or specific brands may make some patients hesitate even to get started. Addressing these points when you deliver recommendations may help dissolve any underlying resistance patients have about sticking with them.
3. Communicate individualized solutions to nonadherence
For example, patients with health concerns that could be described as chronic may be less likely to commit to your recommendation if the benefit of sticking with it (or the results of not sticking with it) may not be immediately realized. Try to help these patients identify a more tangible or personal benefit, like how supporting digestion may support energy levels so they can engage in more of the activities they love.
More and more, patients are taking control of their own outcomes and researching ways to manage their own health. Make it easy by helping them along the way, encouraging adherence and keeping them on course.