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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Knowledge about complementary, alternative and integrative medicine (CAM) among registered health care providers in Swedish surgical care: a national survey among university hospitals

Kristofer Bjerså12*, Elisabet Stener Victorin3 and Monika Fagevik Olsén13

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

2 Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg 41345, Sweden

3 Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:42  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-42

Published: 12 April 2012

Abstract

Background

Previous studies show an increased interest and usage of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the general population and among health care workers both internationally and nationally. CAM usage is also reported to be common among surgical patients. Earlier international studies have reported that a large amount of surgical patients use it prior to and after surgery. Recent publications indicate a weak knowledge about CAM among health care workers. However the current situation in Sweden is unknown. The aim of this study was therefore to explore perceived knowledge about CAM among registered healthcare professions in surgical departments at Swedish university hospitals.

Method

A questionnaire was distributed to 1757 registered physicians, nurses and physiotherapists in surgical wards at the seven university hospitals in Sweden from spring 2010 to spring 2011. The questionnaire included classification of 21 therapies into conventional, complementary, alternative and integrative, and whether patients were recommended these therapies. Questions concerning knowledge, research, and patient communication about CAM were also included.

Result

A total of 737 (42.0%) questionnaires were returned. Therapies classified as complementary; were massage, manual therapies, yoga and acupuncture. Alternative therapies; were herbal medicine, dietary supplements, homeopathy and healing. Classification to integrative therapy was low, and unfamiliar therapies were Bowen therapy, iridology and Rosen method. Therapies recommended by > 40% off the participants were massage and acupuncture. Knowledge and research about CAM was valued as minor or none at all by 95.7% respectively 99.2%. Importance of possessing knowledge about it was valued as important by 80.9%. It was believed by 61.2% that more research funding should be addressed to CAM research, 72.8% were interested in reading CAM-research results, and 27.8% would consider taking part in such research. Half of the participants (55.8%) were positive to learning such therapy. Communication about CAM between patients and the health care professions was found to be rare.

Conclusion

There is a lack of knowledge about CAM and research about it among registered health care professions in Swedish surgical care. However, in contrast to previous studies the results revealed that the majority perceived it as important to gain knowledge in this field.

Keywords:
Complementary therapies; CAM; Sweden; Surgery; Knowledge