CAM, Patient Education Ethics, and Informed Consent Paper

CAM, Patient Education Ethics, and Informed Consent Paper

CAM, Patient Education Ethics, and Informed Consent Paper

  1. Defining CAM

Patients rely on many health interventions besides conventional medicine. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) represents the medical approaches used together with conventional medicine or as its substitute (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021). Medicine used together with non-mainstream approaches is complementary, while options used in place of conventional medicine are alternative medicine. CAM includes acupuncture, massage, meditation, and the use of some herbs. Doctors using conventional medicine can also prescribe CAM depending on knowledge, patient choices, and previous experience with it.

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  1. The patient who Uses CAM the Most

A typical patient using CAM is an adequately informed female patient using CAM to manage a chronic condition. Common factors influencing use include perceived benefits, gender, and accessibility. A staggering 84% of CAM users rely on unconventional methods because of perceived benefits (Tangkiatkumjai et al., 2020). Such patients perceive CAM positively too. Women depend on CAM more than men, and about 37% use CAM due to dissatisfaction with CAM (Cant & Watts, 2019). Each element may influence a patient’s choice significantly.

  1. Common Misconceptions about CAM

There are many misconceptions about CAM that hamper their use. One of the widespread misconceptions is that complementary and alternative medicine options are mutually exclusive. However, this assertion is incorrect since they are part of integrative medicine. Complementary medicine can also be alternative medicine. The other misconception is that CAM is cheap. However, it can be expensive, particularly for patients relying extensively on conventional cancer therapies (Kong et al., 2022). The notion that CAM destabilizes the body and makes it unreceptive to conventional medicine is also misleading.

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  1. Methods of Including CAM in Patient Education

Health care professionals can use different approaches to include CAM in patient education. One of the effective methods is illustrating the beneficial effects of CAM when teaching patients about illness management. The other method is introducing patients to CAM to ensure they are aware of their importance and risks. Health care professionals may also consider bringing together patients of different cultures to discuss alternative medical options and how patients use them.

  1. The Safe Use of CAM

No universal health care technique can be considered safe use of CAM. However, health care professionals should ensure CAM approaches are adequately backed up by data, particularly their benefits to different patients. As James et al. (2018) noted, most CAM approaches are not scientifically proven, particularly in remote cultures. Therefore, health care professionals should warn patients about potential risks and ensure they know the CAM options that patients might use at home. Patients should also understand when and why CAM is necessary.

  1. Integrating Conventional Medicine and CAM

Conventional medicine and CAM can be used together in illness management. An effective way of integrating both approaches is using conventional medicine for complex procedures such as surgery and incorporating CAM for pain management. Behzadmehr et al. (2020) found CAM effective in relieving pain among cancer patients. Similarly, it can be integrated into the care plan after a patient undergoes a surgical procedure. CAM can also be used to treat conditions where non-pharmacological methods are highly recommended, such as mental disorders.

  1. Ethical Theories, Ethical Principles, and Values

People behave differently in different contexts. Ethical theories attempt to describe people’s ethical obligations in different contexts. They define ethical conduct and how to adhere to morally acceptable standards. Ethical principles are guidelines for right and wrong behavior (Varkey, 2021). Ethical values are acceptable behaviors that all people should emulate. Such values in health care include fairness, justice, and respect for diversity.

  1. Ethical Issues in Patient Education and Compliance

Patient education and compliance issues vary in severity and contextually. Ethical issues include providing inadequate, biased, or wrong information and disrespecting patients based on race, culture, and gender, among other attributes. Biased or wrong information hampers patient decision-making (Nibbelink & Brewer, 2018). Inadequate information might hamper compliance since patients consent and comply depending on how they understand health information. Therefore, sufficiency and accuracy are imperative. Health care professionals should respect all patients despite cultural and racial differences.

  1. Ethical Patient Education Practice

Although patient education is integral in promoting ethical practice by promoting patient autonomy, its process can be unethical. For instance, giving partial or biased information to influence a particular decision is unethical. Ethical patient education practice denotes educating patients adequately and correctly to allow them to make proper decisions regarding compliance, acceptance, and adherence to the preferred treatment. Ethical education that supports patients is achieved by health care professionals being adequately aware of their thoughts and perceptions and doing what is right for them (Andersson et al., 2022). The entire process is patient-centeredness and seeks to benefit the patient.

  1. The Purpose of Informed Consent

The primary purpose of informed consent is patient protection. The consent form ensures that the patient has adequate information about the care process and treatment options. It ensures that the choices made are relevant to the patient’s health hence reducing potential risk. Informed consent also promotes shared decision-making and patient engagement in care. Shared decision-making is achieved by collaboration between a health care professional and the patient and communication to allow the patient to make autonomous decisions. Informed patients make accurate decisions about their health, while engagement promotes adherence to the treatment plan (Fehr et al., 2021). Importantly, informed consent creates an informed patient population.

  1. Factors Determining the Patient’s Ability to Give Informed Consent

Various factors, independently or jointly, determine a patient’s ability to give informed consent. These factors include knowledge, the contents of the consent form, and the time dedicated to the consenting process (Negash et al., 2021). Generally, informed consent depends on the patient’s capacity, which varies with the information/communication that a health care professional provides. As a result, highly knowledgeable and adequately informed patients are likely to consent quickly. Capacity also depends on a patient’s cognitive ability. Mentally ill patients cannot make informed decisions and require a trusted family member or a friend to consent on their behalf.

  1. Informed Consent Form
  2. Communication Process when Obtaining Informed Consent

The communication approach determines whether the patient and the family will consent during medication. The best process is first to examine possible communication setbacks, such as language barriers, and identify effective intervention strategies. Secondly, communication through engagement should be encouraged when obtaining informed consent. The health care professional should ensure that the patient and family are actively engaged in decision-making and understand the health condition, treatment procedures, potential benefits, and risks.


Andersson, H., Svensson, A., Frank, C., Rantala, A., Holmberg, M., & Bremer, A. (2022). Ethics education to support ethical competence learning in healthcare: an integrative systematic review. BMC Medical Ethics, 23(1), 1-26.

Behzadmehr, R., Dastyar, N., Moghadam, M. P., Abavisani, M., & Moradi, M. (2020). Effect of complementary and alternative medicine interventions on cancer related pain among breast cancer patients: A systematic review. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 49, 102318.

Cant, S., & Watts, P. (2019). Hidden in plain sight: exploring men’s use of complementary and alternative medicine. The Journal of Men’s Studies, 27(1), 45-65.

Fehr, A., Nieto-Sanchez, C., Muela, J., Jaiteh, F., Ceesay, O., Maneh, E., … & Peeters Grietens, K. (2021). From informed consent to adherence: Factors influencing involvement in mass drug administration with ivermectin for malaria elimination in The Gambia. Malaria Journal, 20(1), 1-16.

James, P. B., Wardle, J., Steel, A., & Adams, J. (2018). Traditional, complementary and alternative medicine use in Sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review. BMJ Global Health, 3(5), e000895.

Kong, Y. C., Kimman, M., Subramaniam, S., Yip, C. H., Jan, S., Aung, S., … & Woodward, M. (2022). Out-of-pocket payments for complementary medicine following cancer and the effect on financial outcomes in middle-income countries in southeast Asia: A prospective cohort study. The Lancet Global Health, 10(3), e416-e428.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. (2021). Complementary, alternative, or integrative health: what’s in a name?

Negash, W., Assefa, N., Baraki, N., & Wilfong, T. (2021). Practice and factors associated with informed consenting process for major surgical procedures among health-care workers, South Eastern Ethiopia. International Journal of General Medicine, 14, 7807-7817.

Nibbelink, C. W., & Brewer, B. B. (2018). Decision-making in nursing practice: An integrative literature review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(5-6), 917–928.

Tangkiatkumjai, M., Boardman, H., & Walker, D. M. (2020). Potential factors that influence usage of complementary and alternative medicine worldwide: A systematic review. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 20(1), 1-15.

Varkey, B. (2021). Principles of clinical ethics and their application to practice. Medical Principles and Practice, 30(1), 17-28.

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Homework Topic 5
Assessment Description
Write a short (50-100-word) paragraph response for each question posed below. Submit this assignment as a Microsoft Word document.

1) Define CAM.
2) Describe the patient who uses CAM the most.
3) List some common misconceptions about CAM.
4) Identify methods of including the use of CAM in patient education.
5) Discuss the safe use of CAM.
6) List ways in which conventional medicine and CAM can be integrated.
7) Define ethical theories, ethical principles, and values.
8) Provide examples of ethical issues in patient education and compliance, and describe ways in which an effective professional/patient relationship and a poor health professional/patient relationship can impact these issues.
9) Explain what is meant by “ethical patient education practices”.
10) Explain the purpose of informed consent.
11) Discuss what factors determine the patient’s ability to give informed consent.
12) Compose a sample informed consent form. .
13) Discuss the process of communication to use with the patient and the family when obtaining informed consent.


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