Cook, Meghan J
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Session presented on Thursday, September 25, 2014: The use of herbal medications or alternative therapies is a practice widely used in many Amish cultures and rural communities. Often times, Amish patients do not view these therapies as medications and do not communicate their use with healthcare providers when seeking traditional healthcare. Other reasons for not disclosing the use of alternative therapies include mistrust among English healthcare providers or fear of being discriminated against. Many of these alternative and complementary therapies and medicines have potential adverse effects and many not be ideal co-therapies with traditional western medicine. Healthcare providers must create an environment of trust and open dialogue with Amish patients in order to properly educate patients on safe use of alternative therapies. Healthcare providers working in rural and Amish communities must gain knowledge and understanding on commonly used alternative therapies and herbal medicines and be aware of their possible adverse effects with traditional medicines while at the same time understanding that these modalities are rooted deep in the Amish culture and must be respected. This allows the healthcare provider to deliver the needed medical care while at the same time respecting the patients culture and beliefs. Common treatment modalities commonly used in the Amish culture can consists of herbal or nontraditional medicines, chiropractic care and pressure point therapies. The Amish also use a variety of vitamin supplements as a means for illness prevention. While many of these treatments have their place in the patients holistic care, they do have powerful effects and can lead to possible adverse side effects if combined with traditional medicine. The role of the rural healthcare provider is to become acclimated and understand the Amish community and the role that these alternative medicines play in their culture and healthcare. This understanding will create an environment of trust and understanding between patient and healthcare provider, allowing for complete holistic patient care.