According to a survey from the NHHCS, nearly 40% of hospice care in the US providers offer some kind of CAM. Common complementary therapies offered by hospices include acupuncture, massage and aromatherapy. Any therapy used in a hospice and palliative care setting should be vigorously tested against scientific evidence.
The National Centre for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) of the National Institutes of Health has made an evidence base for CAMs available online. Using this resource, providers will have access to tools to learn about the safety and effectiveness of CAMs, and will be in a better position to discuss them with patients.
This resource was developed based on a series of NCCAM-sponsored focus groups where health care providers identified the need for an evidence-based, one-stop place to help answer their patients’ questions on CAM. The resource includes:
- links to relevant clinical practice guidelines
- safety and effectiveness information
- links to systematic reviews
- summaries of research studies
- scientific literature searches
- programs for continuing education credit
- patient fact sheets.
The resource also contains information on the Time to Talk campaign which encourages patients and their health care providers to openly discuss the use of complementary health practices. According to the NCCAM, a recent study of Americans aged 50 and older found that over two-thirds of respondents had not discussed CAM with their health care provider, which potentially carries health risks.
“NCCAM is charged to study and provide evidence-based information on the safety and efficacy of CAM health practices that are readily available and already used by a great number of people,” said Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., director of NCCAM. “As a physician, I understand the need to have easily accessible and accurate information on all health practices. This web resource is a way for NCCAM to share this valuable information with all providers.”