What Attitudes and Needs Do Citizens in Europe Have in Relation to Complementary and Alternative Medicine?Nissen N.a · Schunder-Tatzber S.b · Weidenhammer W.c · Johannessen H.a
a Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark b Vienna International Academy for Integrative Medicine, Vienna, Austria c Competence Centre for Complementary Medicine and Naturopathy, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University München, Germany
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Background: Surveys from several European countries suggest a European-wide increase in the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). To safeguard citizens’ rights concerning their healthcare, it is critical to gain an overview of citizens’ attitudes and to understand their expectations and needs regarding CAM. Methods: A review of literature was undertaken, based on systematic searches of the following electronic databases: PubMed, Web of Science, CINHAL, AMED, PsycINFO and PsycArticles; 189 articles met inclusion criteria. Articles were analysed thematically and their reporting quality assessed. Results: Despite the limited availability of research-based knowledge about citizens’ attitudes and needs concerning CAM in many European countries, some trends can be noted. Many citizens hold positive attitudes to CAM and wish for increasing access to CAM provision. Citizens call for impartial, reliable and trustworthy information to support informed decision-making, and some citizens wish for greater support and involvement of biomedical healthcare professionals in facilitating their healthcare choices. While citizens value distinct aspects of CAM practice, they are also critical consumers and support clear regulatory and educational frameworks to ensure the quality and safety of CAM provision and medicinal products. Conclusion: To gain knowledge on citizens’ needs and attitudes to CAM across Europe further research is required on 3 main issues: i) how citizens across Europe obtain information about CAM and the needs they may have for trustworthy information sources, ii) the local situations for accessing CAM and iii) citizens’ perspectives on the quality of care and safety of CAM provision and products.
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