Exploration of the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Hospice
Current literature indicates hospices are providing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with the participation of employees and/or volunteers as an adjunct to conventional medicine to assist in symptom management and improve quality of life. Research indicates that CAM can positively impact quality of life and that individuals are increasingly accessing hospice services and seek non-pharmacological interventions such as CAM. Available research also suggests that limitations to CAM offerings in hospices include lack of affordable access, skilled providers, and education.The purpose of this project was to explore whether an educational intervention improved the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) regarding CAM among employees/volunteers at a 30 bed hospice inpatient facility. Objectives included exploring the KAP regarding CAM among employees/volunteers at this hospice and identifying potential CAM Champions to assist in implementation of a sustainable CAM program. This non-experimental, exploratory, descriptive intervention project used both qualitative and quantitative methods and a purposive sample of employees/volunteers. Eight participants attended a two-day, 14 hour, educational session regarding CAM. The pre-survey was completed prior to the educational session, the post-survey immediately afterwards, and the follow-up survey three months later. Participants were asked about their KAP related to CAM for personal and patient use. A majority of participants indicated the educational intervention was useful, provided new knowledge, and that they intended to continue using techniques learned. Knowledge mean scores improved for all eight CAM therapies covered, with the largest mean change in the areas of yoga and meditation. Improved understanding of CAM via increased knowledge was sustained through the three-month follow-up. CAM for personal and patient use was viewed favorably and despite barriers, there is an interest to continue use in the future. Lack of time was the most common cited barrier for use.Providing education to hospice care providers can strengthen their capacity to meet the increased demand for these services. CAM as an adjunct to manage symptoms is potentially feasible through education and development of employees/volunteers as CAM Champions.
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