CAM, or complementary and alternative medicine, is the form of treating patients that uses nontraditional approaches to healthcare practices and medical substances. These practices can be used as an additional source of treatment allowing patients to experience different methods. In some cases, they can substitute the conventional medical procedures.
The patients who use the CAM practices are usually women under the age of 60 who are well-educated and have no life-threatening diseases (Kristoffersen et al., 2018). These females have some chronic diseases, and they may have several health issues, which makes them search for new methods of treatment. They also consider that this form of intervention has a less negative influence on their health than traditional healthcare.
The first common misconception concerns the fact that people regard CAM as an alternative way of treatment, considering that these doctors have no professional preparation and training. In addition, society believes that medical professionals disapprove of CAM practices. However, scholars perform various studies to evaluate the role of these practices and find the most appropriate among them. Consequently, medical doctors regard these methods as possible forms of treatment.
Such methods as an open discussion with the patients and explanations might help educate people on CAM specifics. The use of CAM in patient education enables people suffering from different diseases and disorders to understand that they can choose from various options. At the same time, it can make society more aware of the specifics of CAM and prevent it from misuse of the practices.
The CAM methods may also have some adverse effects on human health if people misuse them. Some of the practices, including yoga, can be harmless, and they need no specific recommendations. However, various substances can be dangerous because few studies observed the influence of different dietary supplements on human health. For instance, the analysis of breastfeeding women’s use of herbal products revealed that people need to understand what consequences this form of medicine might have on their health (Zheng et al., 2019).
Conventional medicine and CAM can be integrated through open communication and increase of the population awareness about the specifics of each of these approaches. Additionally, the introduction of CAM practices as the additional form of treatment in clinics might help combine these methods and make them work together to contribute to the recovery of patients.
Ethical theories associated with CAM explain how the doctors using these practices should inform patients about the peculiarities of this form of treatment. The ethical principles and values that govern CAM concern identifying the necessity to make people choose from the alternative methods and have a complete understanding of the difference between conventional approaches and non-traditional tools.
An example of an ethical issue can be the failure of the medical doctor to inform a patient about the alternative forms of treatment because it may have unpredictable effects on a patient. The effective relationship between a professional and a patient might help the doctor convince a patient of the necessity of avoiding this form of intervention. Poor relationships might impede the level of understanding and confidence between these people.
Ethical patient education practices are the forms of interaction with patients that include the readiness of healthcare professionals to share the information they have. In this case, the medical professionals use their knowledge to follow the ethical standards to explain the situations and circumstances to their patients.
Informed consent is the information that healthcare professionals share with the patients, and they agree. This information concerns the benefits and threats of the specific procedures and their consequences on a person’s health (Dankar et al., 2019). Having obtained the information, a patient might decide whether to agree to undergo the intervention.
Patients might give informed consent if they understand the situation appropriately and are ready to take risks. Furthermore, they may accept the proposition if they have insufficient knowledge and trust a medical professional. Moreover, such factors as the relationships between a doctor and a patient determined the readiness to sign the informed consent.
I realize that the intervention may have some adverse effect on my health, and I agree to undergo the procedure. I have read the information necessary to understand the situation and comprehend that the doctors answered all the required questions. My participation in this therapy is voluntary, and I confirm that I provided all the essential information to doctors.
The process of communication with patients and a family requires specific approaches (Cocanour, 2017). Mainly, doctors should understand the difference in education and psychological state of people to evaluate what information they need to make a decision.
Cocanour, C. S. (2017). Informed consent—It’s more than a signature on a piece of paper. The American Journal of Surgery, 214(6), 993-997.
Dankar, F. K., Gergely, M., & Dankar, S. K. (2019). Informed consent in biomedical research. Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 17, 463-474.
Kristoffersen, A., Stub, T., Musial, F., Fønnebø, V., Lillenes, O., & Norheim, A. (2018). Prevalence and reasons for intentional use of complementary and alternative medicine as an adjunct to future visits to a medical doctor for chronic disease. BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 18(1).
Zheng, T., Yao, D., Chen, W., Hu, H., Ung, C. O. L., & Harnett, J. E. (2019). Healthcare providers’ role regarding the safe and appropriate use of herbal products by breastfeeding mothers: A systematic literature review. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 35, 131-147.