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Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can be accessed through the counter without a physician’s assistance. The rise in popularity and adoption across healthcare disciplines indicates continued acceptance amid concerns over the safety, ethicality, and applicability of such approaches in meeting diverse population health needs. Standard practices in modern practice include mind-body therapies, manipulative and body-based techniques, biological methods, and energy healing. The applicability of CAM approaches in meeting the needs of severely ill patients can be criticized on different fronts, including the lack of scientific evidence to prove efficacy in helping cancer patients.
In modern nursing, common practices adopted to complement evidence-based care include the use of holistic and allopathic care. While the latter focuses on treating the disease by managing symptoms effectively, the former entails adopting non-medical measures to meet the client’s non-disease-related needs. According to the National Cancer Institute (2023), CAM approaches can be limited in their ability to satisfy the needs of individuals experiencing chronic illnesses, including cancer. Regardless, the safety of CAM strategies cannot be overlooked, considering the need to involve patients and their families in a multidimensional care plan. In this regard, botanicals, biofeedback, and meditation are viable methodologies for cancer management, as controlling fatigue, pain, nausea, and mental pressure requires coordinated care. The practices mentioned above are safe and effective in helping cancer patients to limit exposure to additional illnesses, including hypertension. Meditation is an effective tool in stress management: thus, it can be adapted to fulfill the mental health needs of cancer, hypertension, and diabetes patients.
The connection between the nursing environment, patients, and nature should not be overlooked in disease management. Shahjalal et al. (2022) acknowledge that CAM approaches are helpful in addressing spiritual, mental, and physical elements that influence healthcare convenience and reliability for patients with chronic health issues. It is logical to argue that adopting CAM in disease management can be relevant, provided specific patient preferences and needs are addressed. The management of diabetes can benefit from holistic care approaches involving a recommended diet plan, physical exercise, and the adoption of awareness creation. The patient would be more engaged and motivated to achieve stability and behavior change if the CAM approaches were identified based on their specific needs and preferences (Juanamasta et al., 2021). Offering comprehensive care to meet a diabetic person’s bio-psycho-social needs can effectively legitimize the applicability of alternative medicine in critical care. Nevertheless, the lack of evidence on the impact of complementary and alternative medicine when managing patients with numerous comorbidities should guide choices made in respective patient cases.
From professional and personal viewpoints, adopting holistic and allopathic care requires informed decision-making in which individual factors are used to guide care coordination and integration.
Juanamasta, I. G., Aungsuroch, Y., Gunawan, J., Suniyadewi, N. W., & Nopita Wati, N. M. (2021). Holistic care management of diabetes mellitus: An integrative review. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12, 69. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_402_20
National Cancer Institute. (2023). Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Cancer.gov. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam#:~:text=The%20Safety%20of%20CAM,interact%20negatively%20with%20your%20medicines