Background: Older Australians are high consumers of complementary and alternative medicines (CM). To help older people to take an active role in their health, we will develop and evaluate a novel educational intervention to support decision self-efficacy, and improve health literacy skills.

Methods: The primary hypothesis is that participants receiving a web/DVD plus booklet intervention compared with a booklet-only group will demonstrate an increase in decision self-efficacy. This study is a randomized controlled trial. One hundred and sixty-eight people aged 65 years and older will be recruited from community settings comprising retirement villages and community groups, based in Sydney, Australia. Participants will be randomly allocated to either the education intervention delivered by the Internet or a DVD plus booklet versus a control group (booklet only). The primary outcome measure is CM decision self-efficacy. Secondary outcomes are health literacy, knowledge and attitudes, and change in health-seeking behaviour. Participants’ views on the ease of using the resources, the length of the modules, the amount of information, and participant understanding of the modules will be assessed. Outcomes will be collected on completion of the intervention at 3 weeks, and at a 2 month follow up from trial entry.

Discussion: This trial has the potential to improve CM health literacy in older Australians. There are no educational resources designed to support decision self-efficacy and improve health literacy amongst older people related to CM.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR), ACTRN12616000135415. Registered on 5 February 2016.


complementary medicine, randomised controlled trial, health literacy, Australia

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