Key principles

Key principles

  • Healthcare professionals should adapt their consultation style to the needs of individual patients so that all patients have the opportunity to be involved in decisions about their medicines at the level they wish.

  • Establish the most effective way of communicating with each patient and, if necessary, consider ways of making information accessible and understandable (for example, using pictures, symbols, large print, different languages, an interpreter or a patient advocate).

  • Offer all patients the opportunity to be involved in making decisions about prescribed medicines. Establish what level of involvement in decision˗making the patient would like.

  • Be aware that increasing patient involvement may mean that the patient decides not to take or to stop taking a medicine. If in the healthcare professional's view this could have an adverse effect, then the information provided to the patient on risks and benefits and the patient's decision should be recorded.

  • Accept that the patient has the right to decide not to take a medicine, even if you do not agree with the decision, as long as the patient has the capacity to make an informed decision and has been provided with the information needed to make such a decision.

  • Be aware that patients' concerns about medicines, and whether they believe they need them, affect how and whether they take their prescribed medicines.

  • Offer patients information that is relevant to their condition, possible treatments and personal circumstances, and that is easy to understand and free from jargon.

  • Recognise that non˗adherence is common and that most patients are non˗adherent sometimes. Routinely assess adherence in a non˗judgemental way whenever you prescribe, dispense and review medicines.

  • Be aware that although adherence can be improved, no specific intervention can be recommended for all patients. Tailor any intervention to increase adherence to the specific difficulties with adherence the patient is experiencing.

  • Review patient knowledge, understanding and concerns about medicines, and a patient's view of their need for medicine at intervals agreed with the patient, because these may change over time. Offer repeat information and review to patients, especially when treating long˗term conditions with multiple medicines.