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Melchart, Dieter; Gaisbauer, M.; Brenke, R.; Riker, U.; Liao, J. Z.; Hager, S.; Linde, K.; Weidenhammer, W. (1998): Beobachtungsstudien im Rahmen eines naturheilkundlichen Klinikverbunds :Teil I: Methoden und Übersicht der Ergebnisse in den beteiligten Kliniken. In: Forschende Komplementärmedizin, No. 1: pp. 18-25


Background: In Germany a considerable number of in-patient facilities offer complementary medicine in addition to conventional care. In this study we aimed to describe patient characteristics, diagnostics, therapy and outcomes of four such in-patient facilities. Methods: 2835 consecutive in-patients admitted to two private hospitals with an emphasis on complementary medical cart, one private hospital for traditional Chinese medicine, and the Department of Complementary Medicine of a public district hospital participated in a prospective observational (cohort) study with 12 months follow-up. Sociodemographic characteristics, diagnoses, duration of disease, type and frequency of therapeutic interventions, intensity of complaints, assessment of therapeutic success, and quality of life were documented. Results: Patients of the observed hospitals were mostly female (66%-80% in the four hospitals) and a high proportion was chronically ill (31%-62% with a disease history longer than 5 years). The frequency of single diagnoses varied strongly between the four hospitals, however, chronic pain syndromes were very frequent in all. Complementary care always included a large number of different therapeutic methods whose combination varied with different diagnoses and between the hospitals. At discharge, 57%-73% of patients rated the therapeutic success as good or very good, Follow-up rates were satisfactory only in two of the four hospitals. After 12 months 51%-64% of the responding patients still rated the success as good or very good. Conclusions: In the observed hospitals mainly chronically ill patients are treated with highly complex combinations of a large variety of complementary therapies. A majority of patients seems to be satisfied by the treatment. A major methodological problem in the interpretations of patient outcomes are the partly low followup rates.