Anthroposophic health care--different and home-like.

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Scand J Caring Sci. 2008 Sep;22(3):357-66.
Anthroposophic health care--different and home-like.
Arman M, Ranheim A, Rehnsfeldt A, Wode K.
Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.

Anthroposophic health care is rooted in the work of Steiner and Wegman in Switzerland during the 1920s. The Swedish hospital in this study offers integrated conventional and anthroposophic health care therapies which are conceptualized as an extended and integrative variant of health care and not as CAM. In anthroposophic care, health is viewed as a matter of body, soul and spirit in balance. Therapeutic resources include nursing care, therapeutic conduct (art and body therapies) and medicines based on natural remedies. This study aims to deepen the understanding of what constitutes good care from a patient's perspective to alleviate patients' suffering and to identify clinical markers for good care. As anthroposophic care is associated with theory and holistic ideas, this study aims at exploring whether or not anthroposophic care has a beneficial effect. A qualitative method was used, and the analysis was conducted with a phenomenological hermeneutic approach. Sixteen former patients, of whom nine were diagnosed with various kinds of cancer and seven with burnout syndrome, were interviewed regarding their experience of anthroposophic care. Patients especially noted the benefits of the holistic caring environment; the empathetic approach and true caring offered, as well as the peaceful atmosphere and rest. A turning point or shift in perspectives, implying a home coming in relation to inner aspects was discussed as an outcome. Although patients in general were overwhelmingly impressed and positive they were also ambivalent. One interpretation is that there is a gap between the anthroposophic and conventional paradigm that affects patients negatively. As mutual scepticism still prevents any real integration between integrative and conventional care, the onus appears to be on the patient to take the risk and act as bridge-builder. From a caring science perspective, the study shows that appropriation of specific values and theory makes it possible to create a true caring culture.