Health professionals' and families' understanding of the role of individualised homeopathy in asthma management for children requiring secondary care: Qualitative findings from a mixed methods feasibility study

  • Nichol J
  • Thompson E
  • Shaw A
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Background: This paper draws on a mixed methods study that examined the feasibility of conducting a randomised controlled trial of individualised homeopathy plus usual care, compared to usual care alone, for children aged 7-14 with moderate to severe asthma recruited from secondary care. It draws on qualitative interviews with participants in the feasibility study that investigated families' and professionals' views and experiences of asthma, homeopathy and study participation. Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine families from the homeopathy arm of the feasibility study and eight health professionals from diverse disciplines involved in the study. Data analysis was thematic, guided by the constant comparative method and questions of interest to the feasibility study. Results: Three key themes were identified: the complexities of asthma and asthma management; the potential for homeopathy to improve asthma management; and perceptions and experiences of the research process. All participant groups agreed that asthma was a complex condition that was difficult to manage, but they voiced varied concerns and different perspectives regarding the 'added value' of homeopathy alongside usual care. Conclusions: This qualitative study shows how participants in a feasibility study can hold different priorities and perspectives about an intervention for severe childhood asthma. Differences in valued outcomes that reflect holistic practice should be considered when designing future research in this field. © 2013.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Homeopathy

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  • James Nichol

  • Elizabeth A. Thompson

  • Alison Shaw

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