Introduction: Recent evidence has indicated that older Australians are increasingly turning to complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) to address a variety of health issues. This qualitative study aimed to explore the attitudes and factors involved in decision-making around CAMs by older Australians upon the completion of a CAM educational intervention.

Methods: Men and women aged over 65 years living in New South Wales, Australia were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews after taking part in a randomised control trial. Interviews were analysed using the framework approach.

Results: A total of 20 participants aged over 65 years were interviewed. Themes captured the participants heightened awareness on their decision-making processes when choosing CAM, their increased sense of ability to make empowered and informed decisions regarding CAM, and pre-existing knowledge, or lack of, that impacted their ability to make decisions.

Conclusions: The nature of health-related decision-making for older Australians around CAM is multifaceted and involves a consideration of their personal beliefs and experiences, social networks, education levels, healthcare professionals amongst other factors.


decision-making, older adults, qualitative research, complementary medicine, attitudes, empowerment, health literacy

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