Patient perceptions of patient-centred care, empathy and empowerment in complementary medicine clinical practice: A cross-sectional study

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Journal Article
Advances in Integrative Medicine, 2017, 4 (1), pp. 22 - 30
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© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Objective Patient-centred care (PCC) is increasingly recognised as a valuable paradigm of clinical care, particularly in the field of chronic disease. As the use of complementary medicine (CM) grows, so does the need to explore the clinical experience of CM patients. This study aims to provide an examination of patient perceptions of the degree to which CM practitioners employ a patient-centred approach during consultation. Design Cross-sectional survey preliminary study. Methods A patient-reported survey was administered to assess perceptions of practitioner empathy and support, patient empowerment, and PCC in a multi-profession CM student clinic offering acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, nutrition and myotherapy. The survey was comprised of four existing measures: the Consultation and Relational Empathy (CARE) measure, Patient-Centred Care scale, Perceived Provider Support scale and Empowerment scale. Results Amongst 252 respondents, positive perceptions towards all five professions were consistently reported by participants for all four measures. A higher proportion of positive experiences of practitioner empathy and PCC were reported by participants consulting with a naturopath, nutritionist or homeopath compared to those consulting with a myotherapist or acupuncturist. Participants who visited the clinic for assistance with a chronic health condition reported more positive perceptions for items regarding communication from the Patient-Centred Care scale (p = 0.02) and self-efficacy from the CARE measure (p = 0.04). Conclusion CM clinical care appears to be characterised by a patient-centred, empathic and empowering approach. CM may present a valuable resource of PCC, particularly within the field of chronic disease management. Further research is required in order to explore this approach in the wider CM community.
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