How to Safeguard Latino Patients Practicing Alternative Remedies

Studies reveal that 70% or more of recent immigrants from Latin America use herbal or other alternative remedies[1], but many of them do not self-disclose this information to their physicians. You can imagine the potential risks of contraindications in treating these patients. Why might Latin American immigrant patients interacting with the U.S. healthcare system not share this information with their doctors?

With a little introspection, it’s not difficult to understand. For healthcare providers, these are some questions you may ask yourselves.

  • Does the physician, nurse or technician ask about alternative treatments?

Don’t assume patients will volunteer information without being asked. Latin American immigrants coming from socialized systems of medicine are not culturally trained to be their own advocates. Some patients simply won’t disclose any information, pertinent or extraneous, if the doctor doesn’t ask.

Some Hispanic patients may be used to having doctors engage them in casual conversation, possibly disguised as a diagnostic tool to uncover medical information. In Latin American cultures, good professional relationships are formed by getting to know patients before treating them. Some social engagement will also help U.S. healthcare professionals earn the trust of their patients. Establishing a social relationship of trust will help convince the patient to follow physician’s recommendations, even if only to avoid disappointing the doctor.

  • Does the physician, nurse or technician define what they mean by “alternative” remedies?

Healthcare providers need to be specific when questioning patients about the use of alternative remedies. Asking “What else are you taking?” is not sufficient. This could be interpreted as “What other conventional medicines are you taking?” But what about teas and herbs, massages, sweating, aroma therapy, spiritual cleansings? Find a better way to open up this conversation with your patient. Also, it would help enormously to truly understand the background of your Latino population. Has anyone in your facility canvassed the local community to discover the most common alternative practices? It could save a patient from unnecessary risk. If the locals like to treat their babies’ colic with chamomile tea or teething pains with clover oil, are they aware of the risks of conjunctivitis or toxicity if swallowed? Be specific, with examples, when gauging your patient’s involvement with alternative remedies.

  • Does the medical professional feel comfortable inquiring about treatments with which he or she is unfamiliar?

The obvious solution to this situation is for doctors and nurses to inform themselves about potential harmful interactions from the typical herbal remedies practiced by the local community. But even without this expertise, inquiring is better for patient care than not inquiring. No one knows all of the answers. That’s why there are specialists! A referral to a pharmacist or other related professional can help inform the patient and his or her physician.

  • Is the patient afraid to disclose this information because of past negative interactions with judgmental healthcare providers?

There are effective and ineffective ways of discussing this topic. Disapproving looks and stern warnings intimidate patients into non-disclosure. A bad experience makes it more difficult for the next encounter with healthcare providers and could sabotage compliance in follow-up care. Casual curiosity combined with a neutral tone is a better tactic. If the patient does disclose the use of alternative or complementary treatments which are NOT contraindicated for their conditions, then encouraging the patient to continue practicing harmless practices may enhance their compliance. Patients with long-term ailments become doubtful of the efficacy of their physician’s advice when improvement is not swift and significant. But now the patients who are simultaneously following harmless alternatives are ‘inoculated’ against reverting to natural remedies as their cure and abandoning doctor’s orders!

  • In which language is the diagnostic interview being conducted?

Many recent immigrant patients are not proficient in English. There will be language barriers to overcome. Immigrant patients unassimilated into the U.S. healthcare system may be shy about volunteering information, especially to healthcare professionals they perceive to be authority figures. Having a Spanish-language interpreter who is knowledgeable about U.S. diagnostic procedures and about healthcare practices in Latin America can be your and your patient’s best ally. U.S. born “legacy” speakers of Spanish will help bridge the linguistic gap. However, interpreters recruited from among the immigrant community will be even better suited for this job!

[1] See http://www.jabfm.org/content/19/6/566.full and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2203387/

How to Choose a Naturopathic Doctor For Alternative Healthcare

The field of alternative healthcare is an important rising phenomenon so it’s important for anyone interested in this type of health care to know how to choose a naturopathic doctor. A naturopathic doctor is a professional who has earned an ND from an accredited four year Naturopathic medical school. Many of these schools are in the U.S. and Canada even though the origins of alternative health care has its roots in Europe. Generally, an ND uses a holistic approach to healing the body through natural remedies, diet, lifestyle and the inhibited use of drugs or surgery. A naturopathic doctor’s philosophy is based on the idea that through the proper holistic approach to many health issues, the body can be encouraged to heal itself naturally. heal itself.

The interest in using alternative health care modalities has created a demand for educated professionals in the field. However, there are a lot of unregulated alternative treatments and holistic methods applied by various levels of experts, so it may be hard to know how to find a reputable, expert ND. If you’re interested in finding a naturopathic doctor, here are some tips that can help you make a wiser choice when searching for a professional, alternative healthcare professional.

1. NDs can be found by checking with organizations such as the American Holistic Health Association. The Coalition for Natural Health is also another organization that can provide info on a licensed ND in your area.

2. When you find an ND in your area, always check to see if he or she has a current state license that is recognized.

3. Find someone who has actually been to an ND if possible, since personal referrals are always very helpful in determining whether you would be interested in scheduling a visit.

4. Always find out how long an ND has been practicing. As is the case with any profession, the longer they have been in the profession, the better doctor’s they probably are.

5. At your first visit, don’t be hesitant to ask a lot of questions regarding philosophy, treatment modalities, and tools for diagnosis. Also, be careful to see if the practitioner is open and honest with answers rather than defensive or dismissive.

6. If you decide to try a certain therapy or natural remedy that is prescribed, be sure to check with your general practitioner to make sure that there are no overlapping concerns with parallel treatments.

7. If possible, get as much background information on the ND that you can such as where he or she studied holistic medicine, certification status and if there are any outstanding legal concerns still pending.

A naturopathic doctor can offer many alternative treatment plans for various health issues that concern much of the general public. If you are interested in trying alternative healthcare, be sure to get educated about naturopathic doctors and what they can do to help many conditions through holistic methods of treatment.

History of Alternative Healthcare

Many people hear the words alternative healthcare, natural medicine, herbal remedies, and so on, and they roll their eyes. This is not a new reaction. These people believe that natural medicine is “mumbo jumbo” and can’t compete with Western medicine. What is probably unknown to them is that natural medicine or alternative healthcare has been around for a very long time. It has a history that is much longer and more diverse than that of Western medicine, and it is actually accepted by a majority of the Eastern world, as well as many other places on earth too.

The history of alternative healthcare begins in the middle east and Egypt, around 5000 years BC. The people of these countries and regions had their specific methods of healing their sick or wounded, and they had many solutions for common everyday ailments, as well as long term observable ones. These methods were passed down from medicine man/woman to the next, and through the generations, the doctors of the time honed their healing skills and became great assets to their people.

Further east, scientists and historians have found that both India and China have medical practices that are also 4000 to 5000 years BC. In India, the healing principles that were passed through the generations, namely amulters, and Ayurvedic medicine are still practiced today, and have now stretched beyond India. This is not only a testament to the power of oral tradition and a great heritage, but it is also proof that these natural remedies do work, because they have survived so long and are still recommended.

In China, the concept of balance, yin and yang, Chi, the five elements, the harmony of emotions and spirit are concepts that are still seen today. Not only do many of the people in China still follow these theories and principles, but almost any place on earth where you find a Chinese population, you find a Chinese herbalist or medicine man, or a practitioner of acupuncture. Taoism is also still a popular alternative medicine that is practiced today. What is remarkable, however, is that more than Inidan remedies, Chinese remedies have stretched out to other societies, and some of its practices have even been given recognition by Western doctors.

Coming into the Western world, Europe too had a history of natural medicine which is around 2000 years old. The poor of Europe found herbal remedies to help their sick. They were also practitioners of naturopathy and hydrotherapy, though hydrotherapy or water therapy is something that can be traced back to ancient Rome. Even the US has a history of natural medicine, widely used during the time of the first colonies where healing was left mainly to the wives, who later on were persecuted as witches.

Though many are skeptical, alternative healthcare still has its place in the world today. Twenty-five per cent of Scottish doctors are qualified in homeopathy, and the US is opening up its doors to these Eastern traditions. Radical as it sounds, there’s actually nothing more natural. After all, the entire world has been practicing this manner of healing for thousands of years!

How to Choose a Naturopathic Doctor For Alternative Healthcare

The field of alternative healthcare is an important rising phenomenon so it’s important for anyone interested in this type of health care to know how to choose a naturopathic doctor. A naturopathic doctor is a professional who has earned an ND from an accredited four year Naturopathic medical school. Many of these schools are in the U.S. and Canada even though the origins of alternative health care has its roots in Europe. Generally, an ND uses a holistic approach to healing the body through natural remedies, diet, lifestyle and the inhibited use of drugs or surgery. A naturopathic doctor’s philosophy is based on the idea that through the proper holistic approach to many health issues, the body can be encouraged to heal itself naturally. heal itself.

The interest in using alternative health care modalities has created a demand for educated professionals in the field. However, there are a lot of unregulated alternative treatments and holistic methods applied by various levels of experts, so it may be hard to know how to find a reputable, expert ND. If you’re interested in finding a naturopathic doctor, here are some tips that can help you make a wiser choice when searching for a professional, alternative healthcare professional.

1. NDs can be found by checking with organizations such as the American Holistic Health Association. The Coalition for Natural Health is also another organization that can provide info on a licensed ND in your area.

2. When you find an ND in your area, always check to see if he or she has a current state license that is recognized.

3. Find someone who has actually been to an ND if possible, since personal referrals are always very helpful in determining whether you would be interested in scheduling a visit.

4. Always find out how long an ND has been practicing. As is the case with any profession, the longer they have been in the profession, the better doctor’s they probably are.

5. At your first visit, don’t be hesitant to ask a lot of questions regarding philosophy, treatment modalities, and tools for diagnosis. Also, be careful to see if the practitioner is open and honest with answers rather than defensive or dismissive.

6. If you decide to try a certain therapy or natural remedy that is prescribed, be sure to check with your general practitioner to make sure that there are no overlapping concerns with parallel treatments.

7. If possible, get as much background information on the ND that you can such as where he or she studied holistic medicine, certification status and if there are any outstanding legal concerns still pending.

A naturopathic doctor can offer many alternative treatment plans for various health issues that concern much of the general public. If you are interested in trying alternative healthcare, be sure to get educated about naturopathic doctors and what they can do to help many conditions through holistic methods of treatment.