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What is Adherence?

The changing status of the patient or client over the years has resulted in a change of terminology in the area of adherence. Traditionally patient behaviour was discussed in terms of whether they were ‘compliant’ or not to treatment. Compliance was later seen as being too suggestive of a command given by a powerful health professional to a passive patient. The term ‘adherence’ has gradually replaced ‘compliance’ reflecting the change in the health professional-patient relationship. Occasionally the terms ‘concordance’ and ‘adherence’ have been used synonymously but in fact they relate to different areas. ‘Concordance’ describes the patient-professional relationship and consultation process rather than the actual medicine-taking behaviour. Concordance arises through the process of shared decision-making. Defining adherence is further complicated by the ...

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