Objective: To investigate the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by an end-of-life population. Design: Random selection of death certificates used to locate family caregivers who were interviewed by telephone 2-5 months following decedents' deaths. Participants: Decedent subjects died of natural causes in community settings. Family caregivers were very involved in the care and decision making for decedents during their terminal illness. Measure: Family caregivers reported on whether decedents had used CAM, type of modality, and motivation for use. Results: CAM use by decedents was reported by 53.7% of family caregivers. Decedents who had used CAM were more likely to be younger, to have college degrees and higher household incomes, and to have used one or more life-sustaining treatment. The most frequent reason the decedents had used CAM was for symptom relief. Conclusions: As baby boomers age, bringing their CAM familiarity and previous practices into the end-of-life phase, clinicians will need to be aware that CAM use for symptom control is likely to be prevalent.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine