Thesis

Impact and value of complementary and alternative therapies according to key stakeholders

A holistic approach in treating illnesses is becoming a popular trend in the United States. Patients are now frequently using complementary and alternative therapies to cope with illness and symptoms caused by mainstream medicine. Hospitals and community partners are collaborating to implement new programs and meet patient demand for alternative forms of treatment. A participatory action research model was utilized to examine key stakeholders’ perceptions on the impact and value of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Key Stakeholders included community business partners (n=4) and the program facilitators (n=5). Qualitative in-depth interview schedules were utilized to gather statistical data. Results revealed positive benefits for everyone involved in complementary and alternative therapies. CAM programs seem to offer elements of psychological and physical wellbeing for patients as well as caregivers and besides gaining a new perspective on patients with cancer and their local hospital, key stakeholders gained a surplus of customers for their business. Results also revealed Memorial Medical Center is creating more awareness of their holistic services in and out of the community by successfully implementing complementary and alternative therapies. The impact CAM may have on caregivers, communities and economic revenue for all collaborative partners should be further empirically analyzed.

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