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  • Introduction
  • 1. Advance Care Planning
  • 2. Communicating Bad News
  • 3. Whole Patient Assessment
  • 4. Pain Management
  • 5. Assisted Suicide Debate
  • 6. Anxiety, Delirium
  • 7. Goals of Care
  • 8. Sudden Illness
  • 9. Medical Futility
  • 10. Common Symptoms
  • 11. Withholding Treatment
  • 12. Last Hours of Living
  • 13. Cultural Issues
  • 14. Religion, Spirituality
  • 15. Legal Issues
  • 16. Social and Psychological
  • More About:

  • Hospice Care
  • Clergy and Faith Communities
  • Additional Links
    Site Index
    Back to Module 13: Cultural Issues
    Tools for Diagnosing and Mediating Cultural Misunderstandings

    Touch and Gender
    Medical Subculture
    Traditional Medicine
    Body Language
    Bad News
    Meaning of Illness
    Alternative Medicine Pain
    Imminent Death

    Alternative Medicine

    What is Alternative Medicine?

    • Alternative medicine refers to popularized cures, the variety of “natural healing” modalities including:
      • Reflexology
      • Naprapathy
      • Healing touch
      • Herbals
      • Aromas
      • Massages
      • And so forth...
    • It is largely unsystematized and unregulated
    • Some of these therapies may actually be helpful. Herbals can be effective, placebos are in some cases harmful. It is important to either become knowledgeable about them or find someone, e.g., a pharmacist, who is. Some can cause interactions with necessary drugs


    What Should I Do if My Patient Is Using Alternative Medicine?

    • Remain open-minded about it so that the patient will continue to tell you what they are doing.
    • Do not make the patient choose between your team and the other healers
    • Have the patient bring in samples of things they are taking so you can have them analyzed if necessary
    • Remember that going to these healers represents either a life long practice or a desperate search for cure when our treatments fail. Regard it as the patient taking an active role. As long as there is no interference with necessary care there is little reason to oppose it
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