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Complementary medicine visits by palliative care patients: a cross-sectional survey
  1. Amie Steel1,
  2. Janet Schloss2,3,
  3. Helene Diezel2,
  4. Per J Palmgren4,
  5. Jean Baptiste Maret5 and
  6. Marilène Filbet5
  1. 1 Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Office of Research, Endeavour College of Natural Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  3. 3 Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  4. 4 Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
  5. 5 Département de Soins Palliatifs, Centre Hospitalier Lyon-Sud Service de Radiologie, Pierre-Benite, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amie Steel, Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2007, Australia; amie.steel{at}uts.edu.au

Abstract

Background The paucity of empirical research examining complementary medicine (CM) use in palliative care in France compared with other countries results in a gap in scientific knowledge. This study aims to describe the frequency and the cause of palliative care patients consulting with a CM clinician along with the conventional physicians.

Methods This study is an observational cross-sectional survey conducted in three palliative care centres in Lyon, France, between July 2017 and May 2018: two tertiary hospitals and one palliative care unit in a private hospital. Inpatients and outpatients visiting the palliative care clinics with a primary diagnosis of cancer were invited to participate in the study. Using a 19-item paper-based survey instrument, we collected data on the participants’ personal characteristics, health service utilisation and attitudes towards CM.

Results From the 138 participants meeting the inclusion criteria, 100 (72.4%) were included in the study. On average, they were 62.9 years old (SD 12.4) and the majority were women (60%). The primary cancer site was mostly colorectal (29.0%), breast (15.0%) and gynaecological (11.0%). The most commonly visited CM clinician was the aromatherapist (72.7%), recording more than six consultations (78.1%) for symptom management (21.9%). Visits to an osteopath were reported by 28.6% of patients, and 45.8% of osteopathy users reported visiting an osteopath more than six times for symptom management (62.5%). Participants visiting a naturopath (15.3%) reported less than four visits and indicated symptom management as the most common reason (76.9%).

Conclusions Our findings show a substantial proportion of palliative care patients visit CM clinicians and primarily seek symptom management from CM clinical care.

  • complementary therapy
  • cancer
  • communication
  • supportive care

Data availability statement

No data are available. The ethical clearance for this study did not permit data sharing.

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Data availability statement

No data are available. The ethical clearance for this study did not permit data sharing.

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Footnotes

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  • Contributors JS, HD and AS contributed to the conception, study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation, and drafting of the manuscript. MF and PJP contributed to the conception, study design, data interpretation, drafting and critical revision of the paper. JBM was engaged in data collection, interpretation of data and critical revision of the paper. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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