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Patientsmay defy a healthcare workers instructions when using prescribed drugs due tomany reasons. Some of the reasons include personal and cultural beliefs, highcost of the drugs, fear of the side effects, absence of symptoms, and havingtoo many medications to take. This paper will discuss a scenario whereprescription drug use creates ethical problems for a healthcare worker and itspotential solution.
Thesituation involves a who refuses to take drugs becauseof the side effects. The patient feels that the benzodiazepines affect hissleep patterns. He also explains that he does not want his sleep pattern to bealtered even though he is at risk of sleepwalking when the insomnia is off.Moreover, the patient fears that the drugs will impair his cognition skills,driving skills, and risk falls after the care provider highlighted these sideeffects before prescribing the drugs. Benzodiazepines are examples of drugsthat physicians can consider when counteracting insomnia and anxiety disordersin older patients (Markota et al., 2016). Similarly, the patient refuses totake other medications because they leave a bitter taste in his mouth.
Thecare provider taking care of this patient has various ethical dilemmas,including whether to encourage the patient to continue taking the drugs or not.Taking the drugs can help the patient recover from his illness and reduceinsomnia symptoms. Similarly, the drugs can prevent the risk of the patientfalling and fracturing bones. Another ethical dilemma that the healthcareworker is experiencing is whether to prescribe other drugs to help the patient,considering that he refuses to take more drugs.
Moreover,the principle of autonomy allows the patient to refuse medication or takedrugs. This principle is only applicable if the patient is in the capacity torefuse the drug. An ethical dilemma would emerge for the physician if thepatient is not in the right capacity and competence to make this decision whichis likely for this case, and there are no relatives to decide on this.
Theethical care that the care provider can practice is beneficence. Beneficencerefers to identifying alternative care methods or drug administrationtechniques that benefit the patient without risking adverse health effects. Forexample, the care provider can inform the patient that the drugs will becrushed and added to their food to ensure they take them. Similarly, the careprovider can resort to alternative therapy like sleep hygiene education,cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, and sleep restriction therapy. Thecare provider can also use coercive methods to ensure the patient takes thedrugs. For example, offering the patient pictorial and audiovisual educationalmaterial can eliminate the hassle of re-explaining the written prescriptioninstructions (Chan et al., 2017). These methods are ethical and eliminate theneed for drugs to treat the patient. Also, these non-pharmacological methodstreat the patient with dignity and respect his human rights.
Thenon-pharmacological methods are practical even though they may requirepersuasion to convince the patient to help. Lacing the food with drugs may beflawed because the patient may start hating the food knowing that it has thesame drugs that he is detesting. Therefore, the healthcare worker may have toconsult with the hospitals ethics committee for the appropriate method ofadministering the drugs.
Thehealthcare technology that applies to this patient is virtual reality (VR).Virtual reality is a cognitive-based therapy that can manage the patientsinsomnia by creating an artificial environment inducing sleep (Vailati Riboniet al., 2020). The technology follows the moral guideline of beneficence bytreating the patients problems like insomnia and anxiety without causing thedrugs’ physical effect (Lodha, De Sousa
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