Use of complementary and alternative medicine among rural Montanans
Beebe, Michele Morgen
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Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), an assortment of varying health care practices that exist outside the definition or accepted practices of conventional medicine, is increasing. Little is known about CAM use among rural Montanans. Health care providers need this information to better manage patient-care situations such as CAM-drug interactions or skewed laboratory results which may result from CAM use.The selected method was the qualitative approach. A convenience sample was selected, and after informed consent was obtained, interviews with the subjects were audio taped and transcribed. Coding of data in the transcripts revealed concepts and themes regarding the subject's CAM use. After each interview, field notes were written to record salient points. The committee chair reviewed selected interviews which facilitated triangulation of data and enhancement of credibility.Data were analyzed for major themes that emerged which where, Using CAM: Pros, Cons and Influences, CAM Providers: Pros and Cons, Validating CAM Use, and Managing Health Issues and Enhancing Control with CAM. The themes showed how the sample was similar to the literature describing national CAM use, but also allowed glimpses into how the rural Montana sample was different from studies of national CAM use.Results are not generalizable due to sample size. However, the results do offer a glimpse into the use of CAM in rural Montana. Further research on CAM use among Montana populations, including minorities and varying socioeconomic groups, is needed.