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Patients want integrative care


Patients want their general practitioners (GPs) to offer a combination of mainstream and complementary health care. This was shown in a Dutch study among adults with chronic joint problems.

Patients want their general practitioners (GPs) to offer a combination of mainstream and complementary health care. This was shown in a Dutch study among adults with chronic joint problems.

The results of this study were presented on October 4th at the Integrative Medicine Congress in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The respondents were asked, among other things, whether they made use of complementary therapies for their present complaints, and how they viewed the role of their GP.

GP should inform patients about complementary care

The study was conducted among a representative group of adult patients with chronic joint problems. Patients suffering from arthrosis, rheumatism and fibromyalgy often seek, on their own initiative, complementary therapies such as acupuncture and osteopathy. Only one-third of the patients actively discuss these options with their GP. The study shows that 92% of the patients would like their GP to take the initiative to inform them about the possibilities of complementary therapies. Even within the group of respondents that does not use these therapies 74% would like to be informed by their GP about complementary care.

Integrative medicine: 'the best of two worlds'

The study shows that 86% of patients with joint problems already make use of complementary therapies: primarily osteopathy, acupuncture, homeopathy and naturopathy. Their main reasons for using these therapies are 'confidence in the integrative approach'; 'heard positive stories about complementary therapies'; and 'a wish for therapies based on an alternative view of health'. They expect to get 'the best of two worlds' if their GP takes the integrative approach. Ten years ago the main reason for patients to use alternative therapies was discontent with mainstream care. This was also found in an earlier study by the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL).

This study was conducted by the Van Praag Institute, the Louis Bolk Institute and Zorgbelang Groningen. It was commissioned by PPCG (patients' platform for complementary health care, an association of various patients' organisations) and was funded by the PGO Fund of the Dutch ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The study was designed in collaboration with the association of rheumatism patients and health insurance company Menzis.

More information:

Articlein scientific journal Patient, education and counseling.
www.louisbolk.nl/proeftuin (in Dutch)
www.ppcg.nl/onderzoek.htm (in Dutch)
Nivel publication

or contact Miek Jong PhD of the Louis Bolk Institute


Date: 26-10-2012