Complementary Health Approaches: Overcoming Barriers to Open Communication During Cancer Therapy

Ausanee Wanchai, RN, PhD; Jane M. Armer, PhD, RN, FAAN; Kandis M. Smith, PhD; Julia Rodrick, OTR/L, CLT-LANA, WCC


Background: Complementary health approaches (CHAs) have been widely used by patients with cancer for many reasons. However, some patients choose not to disclose their use of CHAs to their nurses, fearing that this use will be viewed as unacceptable. Nurses may be uncomfortable talking about CHAs because of a lack of evidence-based research on the subject.

Objectives: This article promotes ways in which nurses can overcome barriers to open communication about CHAs with patients during cancer therapy.

Methods: The literature related to CHAs and communication was reviewed.

Findings: To encourage open communication between nurses and patients regarding the use of CHAs, nurses need to be more knowledgeable about CHAs through training or by conducting research related to CHAs.

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