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Why parents choose or decline Complementary and Alternative Medicine services in the acute pediatric inpatient rehabilitation setting

Principal Investigator:
Suzanne
Prestwich

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) usage in the general population is becoming more common as is usage in children. Use in children with chronic illness such as oncology patients, ADHD and Autism have been well documented. However, there is no data about children presenting for acute rehabilitation in an inpatient setting that are given CAM as an option to augment recovery.

Information about the use of CAM in children receiving acute rehabilitation for orthopedic surgery, brain injury and spinal cord injury is limited.

Our facility (Kennedy Krieger Children’s Hospital) provides traditional acute rehabilitative services and CAM services. Massage therapy, acupuncture and energy therapy are offered to parents' of patients but not required. There are no additional charges for CAM services.

Massage therapy is the rubbing, pressing or manipulation of muscles to relieve stress, decrease pain and promote wellness. Acupuncture is the use of solid, metalic needles inserted into skin to promote wellbeing, enhance healing and return the body to a "balanced state" according to the principals of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Energy therapy is a type of healing practice similar to Reiki, which originated in Japan. In Energy therapy, the practitioner places their hands just above or lightly on a patient in order to promote healing response and wellbeing.

The purpose of this study is to identify factors (demographic, attitudinal, and medical) that influence the decision to receive or decline CAM services in the acute rehabilitation setting. The reasons for participation in the CAM therapies may be related to severity of the medical condition/injury, chronicity of medical condition/injury, education of the family, family use of CAM prior to admission, education and religious belief systems.

All patients admitted to Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit are offered CAM services at or soon after the time of admission.

Nursing staff provides information to parents regarding three modalities of CAM that are provided in the evenings following completion of traditional therapy.

Parents/gaurdians of patients at KKI aged 2 years to 18 years who are admitted for rehabilitation following orthopedic surgery, for brain injury rehabilitation and for spinal cord injury rehabilitation will be eligible. All other parents/gaurdians of patients will be excluded.

CAM services offered are massage therapy, acupuncture and energy therapy. 1 week prior to planned discharge, a nursing staff member will provide the survey to eligible patients and their families. There will be no direct contact with the study team. Completed surveys will be placed in a sealed envelope and returned to the unit clerk who will give the surveys to the study team.

We will collect information about the age, sex, date of injury/illness, and the diagnoses of the participants from the survey. All information about the particpant will be de-identified.

We are recruiting 30 participants.

Data will be analyzed to determine trends in usage or rejection of CAM.

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