Compliance and Tupperware

The term compliance is one that is used to describe a patient doing what he or she is told to do. If a drug is prescribed, compliance would be to take it when and how it is supposed to be taken in order for it to be effective. Showing up for doctor’s appointments and preparing appropriately for a procedure would be other examples. The term “compliance” infers that when a patient does not do what is asked that they are just being willful or stubborn. I always think of a naughty child when I hear about a non-compliant patient.

I was thinking about compliance the other day with regard to Tupperware. We have the same kind of Tupperware drawer that probably 95% of North Americans share. It is chaotic, it is almost impossible to find a lid that matches a container and it is crammed full. Every so often I get inspired and I create a system for the drawer. Nothing too complicated- the lids in one part of the drawer, the containers in another. Small, lunch size containers separated from the large leftovers containers. It’s not rocket science. When it’s organized everything has a matching lid and the drawer closes nicely.

I explain this simple system to my family and they all agree that this is much better and, ooh, isn’t this nice to have it organized.

The system lasts maybe two days. Then my son, who is in a hurry to finish his job of putting dishes away throws everything in the drawer in a big, jumbled pile. My husband will impatiently stuff containers in there that are sitting out on the counter.

I can live with this. But it does cause me to reflect. How can people that can’t even keep a Tupperware drawer organized, keep a complex system of pills organized? How can you keep doctor’s appointments straight when you are seeing seven different doctors? How can you remember all of the instructions before a procedure? It may not be a matter of disobedience when patients do not comply, it may simply be a matter of too much complexity for someone that is not organized or a planner by nature. Or there may be other issues such as language acting as a barrier.

There are wedding co-ordinators, but I’m sure lots of people could use an illness co-ordinator in order to help them comply with a variety of inertwined instructions. Or maybe we need an app?


2 thoughts on “Compliance and Tupperware

  1. Marsha says:

    Another job for your friendly pharmacist. Compliance packaging is an important tool that can be requested at most pharmacies and usually come without a charge.

  2. Sam,
    I think you have just created another job opportunity for yourself. Patient non compliant coach.

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