Florida Public Health Review

Publication Date

April 2010


To increase the effectiveness of therapeutic regimens for tuberculosis (TB) and to reduce the societal risks for both infected and uninfected individuals, it is beneficial to be able to predict factors associated with non-adherence to treatment. The purpose of this study was to acquire detailed case histories of TB patients admitted to a hospital setting and to gain a better understanding of how patients explain the life events leading up to their admission for treatment. Twenty-one patients with active TB were interviewed concerning their knowledge of TB, diagnosis and treatment history, recent history prior to hospitalization, reactions to and life changes associated with having TB, and future life intentions following treatment. Three situations were identified that contributed to institutionalization: inability to carry out self-care; need for specialized care to address conditions beyond the patient’s control; and failure to follow the therapeutic regimen. Results confirmed known risk factors for acquisition of TB, situations that delay diagnosis and treatment, and variables that influence adherence and defaulting. Coordinated case management of multiple problems co-occurring with TB treatment may contribute to improved adherence. Consideration of psychosocial and economic needs is important to patient care. Improved communication between health care personnel and patients may enhance the likelihood of successful directly observed therapy (DOT) outside of an institutionalized setting. Some circumstances may preclude non- institutionalized care. These findings bring a dimensional richness to understanding of the patient’s view of the disease and institutionalized care.