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Open Access Research article

The use of complementary and alternative medicine for patients with traumatic brain injury in Taiwan

Bih-Shya Gau1, Hsiao-Ling Yang1, Sheng-Jean Huang23 and Meei-Fang Lou1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

2 Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:211  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-211

Published: 6 November 2012

Abstract

Background

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continues to increase in Taiwan. This study examined the use of CAM and beliefs about CAM as expressed by patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in Taiwan.

Methods

TBI patients and their accompanying relatives were interviewed by using a structured questionnaire at an outpatient clinic in a medical center in northern Taiwan.

Results

A total of 101 patients with TBI participated in the study. Sixty-four (63%) patients had used at least one form of CAM after sustaining TBI. CAM users had used an average of 2.72 forms of CAM after sustaining TBI. The most frequently used CAM category was traditional Chinese medicine (37; 57.8%), followed by folk and religious therapies (30; 46.9%), and dietary supplements (30; 46.9%). The majority of the patients (45; 70.3%) did not report CAM use because they felt it was unnecessary to do so. Patients who used CAM had a significantly stronger positive belief in CAM than those who did not (t = −2.72; P = .008). After using CAM, most of the patients (54; 85%) perceived moderate satisfaction (2.89 ± 0.44), according to a 4-point Likert scale.

Conclusion

Although the use of CAM is common for TBI patients receiving conventional medical health care in Taiwan, most patients did not inform health care personnel about their CAM use. TBI patients perceive combined use of CAM and conventional medicine as beneficial for their overall health.

Keywords:
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); Belief in complementary and alternative medicine; Traumatic brain injury (TBI)