Use of home remedies by adult patients in primary care: a cross-­sectional study

Master program titleMaster en Médecine Humaine
Defense date2020

BACKGROUND: Non­‐pharmacological treatments such as “home remedies” are anchored in patients' everyday life, but their use in primary care in Western cultures remains scarcely explored. Objectives of the present study were to establish the prevalence of non-pharmacological home remedies (NPHRs) in primary care and to assess patients' perspectives on such remedies in the region of Geneva (Switzerland). METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted by means of a self-developed questionnaire (16 questions), assessing variables about NPHR use, sociodemographic characteristics of adult primary care patients and a list of home remedies (N=220) for common minor health problems (N=58), matching our working definition of NPHRs and resulting from a preliminary phase of the study. Patients were recruited via randomly selected general practitioner (GP) practices located in central and peripheral communities of Geneva. Data was collected in spring 2020 in waiting rooms of GP practices and analysed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: 314 of 390 patients from 15 GP practices were included, corresponding to a response rate of 80.5%. NPHR use was highly prevalent among adult patients consulting in primary care (64.4%). The most commonly used NPHRs were cooling (i.e. ice and cold compress) and going for a stroll. The most frequently used NPHRs were going for a stroll and walking. Minor health problems most commonly treated with NPHRs were the common cold, a sore throat and burns. A third of NPHR users estimated that it was the GP's role to spontaneously inform them about NPHRs, two thirds believed that it was not the GP's role or merely at patient's specific request. Female gender was associated with a higher prevalence of NPHR use (OR 1.6; 95%CI 1.0-2.6; p 0.04) and the view that it was not the GP's role to address NPHR use (OR 1.6; 95%CI 1.0-2.6; p 0.04). CONLUSIONS: This is a pioneering study in Switzerland, giving an initial overview on the use of home remedies from primary care patients' perspective. Home remedy use is highly prevalent among patients. Contrary to previous studies stating that patients would like to be informed about NPHRs by their GP, according to the two­‐thirds majority of our NPHR users, GPs are not expected to spontaneously address the issue. Yet little reliable literature on home remedies currently exists. For comprehensive and safe health‐care management in the context of patient-oriented medicine in primary care, more evidence-based research on efficacy and safety of home remedies is required.

  • Home remedies
  • Non-pharmacological treatments
  • General practitioner
  • Primary care
  • Minor health problems
  • Perspective
Citation (ISO format)
WINKLER, Neria Estrella. Use of home remedies by adult patients in primary care: a cross-­sectional study. 2020.
Main files (1)
Master thesis
  • PID : unige:152805

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Creation07/02/2021 10:41:00 AM
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