Provision and utilization of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Texas hospices
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The purpose of this study was to describe the extent and nature of CAM services that are provided and used in Texas hospices. The study investigated the significance of hospice setting characteristics such as age, geographic location, agency type, profit orientation, Medicare certification, and number of patients served as they relate to the likelihood of offering CAM, using a robust methodological and analytical strategy. Data was collected via self-administered mail surveys to 369 hospice directors in the state of Texas. A total usable response rate of 35.7% was obtained after an initial and one follow-up mail-out. A majority (N = 62, 56.4%) of hospices provided at least one type of CAM to their clients; however, a sizeable proportion of patients did not utilize the provided CAMs. The most frequently offered CAMs included massage, music, relaxation, spiritual healing and pet therapies with females and non-Hispanic whites being the most frequent users of these CAM services. Among CAM providers, short length of stay and funding were the primary obstacles to CAM provision, with most hospices relying on a combination of general hospice funds and volunteers to sustain the delivery of CAM services. The odds of offering CAM in ‘not-for-profit’ hospices were approximately four times higher than in ‘for-profit’ hospices (OR = 3.77, p = 0.022), while the odds of offering CAM increased by 13% for every 100 patients served by hospices (OR = 1.131, p = 0.015). Other hospice setting characteristics were not significantly related to CAM provision. In conclusion, a majority of hospices offered CAM services to their clients, although many patients are not utilizing these services. This observation might be connected with the fact that most CAM services are currently not being reimbursed through the Medicare Hospice Benefit, a government program that a majority of hospices depend upon for the coverage of substantial portions of their end-of-life services. Nevertheless, our study showed that CAM provision is related to the number of patients served and profit orientation status, but is not related to other measured characteristics of hospices.