Let’s Talk About - Complementary Health Practices

Approximately 38 percent of adults (about 4 in 10) and approximately 12 percent of children (about 1 in 9) are using some type of complementary health practice? However, according to a telephone survey of people aged 50 and older, only a third of all respondents said they have ever discussed these practices with their health care providers. To ensure safe, coordinated care among all conventional medicine and complementary health practices, it’s time to talk. Talking not only allows fully integrated care, but it also minimizes risks of interactions with a patient’s conventional treatments. When patients tell their providers about their use of complementary health practices, they can better stay in control and more effectively manage their health. When providers ask their patients, they can ensure that they are fully informed and can help patients make wise health care decisions. Tips for talking to your health care providers •When completing patient history forms, be sure to include all therapies and treatments you use. Make a list in advance. •Tell your health care providers about all therapies or treatments—including over-the-counter and prescription medicines, as well as dietary and herbal supplements. •Don’t wait for your providers to ask. Be proactive. •If you are considering a new complementary health practice, ask your health care providers about its safety, effectiveness, and possible interactions with medications (both prescription and nonprescription).