There is a renewed interest in complementary and alternative medicine because of the benefits associated with its use. Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is defined as a “group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011). National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) identified two subgroups of therapies: natural products and mind-and-body practices which are then classified in five categories: biological based, mind-body therapies, manipulative and body-based therapies, energy therapies, and systems of care (Kramlich, 2014). “According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 17.7 percent of American adults had used a dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals in the past year. These products were the most popular complementary health approach in the survey” (National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Medicine, 2015). It is vital that patients communicate with their providers about CAM therapies to ensure safe, integrated use of health care services.
As cited by Siddiqui et al (2014), “The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing rapidly, exceeding prevalence of 53% among those aged 50 years and above in a joint survey by American Association of Retired People (AARP) and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)” (p.81). This may be related to burden of chronic disease. Older adults use CAM for many reasons that include lower costs, more effective therapies, improve quality of life, and pain relief, avoid side effects caused by pharmacological t...
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It is imperative that we acknowledge and understand the patient’s values and beliefs in CAM therapies. It is important to also educate older adults about misconceptions of herbal remedies, regarding the adverse effects and interactions with other herbs and medications. It is important that providers create a safe environment where patient can ask and discuss all CAM therapies without having to be judged.
It is important that patients understand to that complementary and alternative methods should never replace conventional treatments for OA. It is also necessary for providers to be knowledgeable regarding the problems that may result from the use of CAM therapies. It is important that provider improve communication with patients to review options available for them and promote patient involvement and empowerment.
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