Complementary/alternative therapies use in older women with arthritis: Information sources and factors influencing dialog with health care providers

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The purpose of this study was to describe the information sources older women with arthritis use to make decisions about complementary/alternative therapies (C/AT), and factors that influence C/AT dialog with their HCP. The purposive sample included 50 community-dwelling older women (mean age = 77.8, SD = 7.6, range 66–101) who were using C/AT for arthritis management. Eight focus groups were conducted. Qualitative data were analyzed using both manual and computer-based (Atlas.ti) methods. Participants used a variety of C/AT for arthritis management. Most did not seek C/AT information from their health care provider (HCP) but primarily relied on family and friends as resources. Common themes that influenced C/AT dialog included collaborative patient relationship with HCP, HCP unsupportive attitudes toward C/AT and lack of C/AT knowledge, and time-limited clinic visits. Clinical implications include fostering shared decision making clinical relationships, increasing HCP knowledge about C/AT, initiating C/AT dialog and offering credible C/AT information sources.

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