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Communication between physicians, CAM practitioners important to parents January 19, 2011

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine.
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Parents referred to conventional and complementary and alternative medicine clinics perceive communication between physicians and complementary and alternative medicine practitioners as “highly important in promoting their children’s health and safety,” according to findings in a study.

The study included 599 parents who visited either conventional primary care or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) clinics with their children (319 parents in five conventional clinics and 280 parents in 21 CAM clinics) and completed a questionnaire that included 18 questions about parent and child demographics and 30 questions about parental attitudes about CAM in pediatric care.

Parents in conventional clinics reported less use of CAM by their children during the past year than the parents in the CAM clinics (35.3% vs. 73.7%); however, they used more traditional and homemade remedies than the parents in the CAM clinics (46.4% vs. 12.7%).

“Both parent groups largely supported informing their child’s physician regarding CAM use and expected the physician to initiate a CAM-related conversation and to refer their child to a CAM practitioner. The two groups’ respondents largely supported communication between the child’s physician and the CAM practitioner by the use of a referral/medical letter,” the researchers wrote.

The parents in the conventional clinics were more supportive of CAM integration in a conventional pediatric primary-care clinic than the parents in the CAM clinics. Additionally, parents in the conventional clinics “envisioned a more dominant role of physicians regarding CAM referral and a significant role of physicians in providing CAM” compared with parents in the CAM clinics.

Parents in both groups said when they spoke with their child’s physician about CAM use, they were the ones to initiate the conversation in most instances.

Ben-Arye E. Pediatrics.

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