College of Arts & Sciences

Date of Award

Summer 8-2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Spencer K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Linda M. Montgomery, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

James Olson, Ph.D.

Abstract

This study explored the high number of failed appointments and follow-up appointments at a community health care children’s clinic. A thirty-seven item questionnaire was randomly given to 112 participants seeking health care at the clinic on a random basis. Based on literature reviews, five hypothesis were generated to examine reasons for failing to keep appointments for children: 1. Communication difficulties between healthcare personnel and parents regarding patient comprehension of instructions and bottle directions were anticipated. 2. Patient/physician/clinic relationships were expected to influence patient compliance. The need for more reminder calls for appointments was anticipated to be a factor in patient compliance also. 3. Influence from other family members or subjective norms was anticipated to influence patient follow-up and medication compliance. 4. Socioeconomic conditions were anticipated to have a bearing on whether some parents were able to complete medical treatment plans. 5. The healthcare beliefs and lack of awareness of preven tative medicine was believed to be a barrier to follow-up appointments and well-child appointments. Findings indicated that patients did have difficulties with instructions and bottle directions. Patients also expressed a need for reminder calls, admitted to being influenced by other family members, and indicated that their financial resources for medical care were limited. Nearly one-half of the respondents stated that they did not know what the term “preventative medicine” meant. These findings indicate that new tools for communicating medical treatment and increasing healthcare awareness are needed.

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