A CAM Survey in US Hospitals

The Samueli Institute (220) and the Health Association of the American Association of Hospitals (221) cooperated on a report named 2010 Complementary and Alternative Medicine Survey of Hospitals (222).

The main findings of the report are:

1) 42% of the 714 hospitals that participated in the survey reported that they offer one or more CAM treatment methods.

2) Hospitals across the country have responded to patients’ demands and integrate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) services with conventional, routine services.

3) CAM hospitals express the desire to heal the whole person – body, mind and spirit.

4) Reasons for introducing CAM: 85% of the hospitals offering CAM report that patients’ demands was the primary reason; 70% reported clinical efficacy as the second major reason.

5) As most CAM services are not included in insurance plans, the costs were most often covered by the patients themselves.

The conclusion of the report calls for the positive integration of CAM into hospital care – given the ageing population and the rise in chronic illnesses, the authors recommend that hospitals pay attention to alternative therapies. They point to CAM’s potential in treating conditions that are otherwise difficult to treat, such as cancer, AIDS, chronic pain, and diabetes. Patients who receive integrated care are generally more satisfied with the hospital’s services. Patients with cancer report that CAM therapy helps them cope better with the conditions associated with their illness and the side effects of conventional therapy, and also reduces their suffering. (223)