UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of an education seminar on support persons of individuals with cancer on knowledge and decision making related to complementary and alternative medicine Allen Searson, Nancy


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is prevalent among cancer patients; thus, patients require information about the efficacy and safety of these therapies. Some cancer patients struggle to make informed decisions, highlighting the need for education and decisional support. Patients often look to support persons for assistance in treatment decision making; recognizing the social context of decision making, a patient education seminar focused on CAM therapies was developed to include support persons. This study examines the effect of an education seminar for adult cancer patients and their support persons on support persons’ use of CAM, knowledge about CAM and CAM decision making, CAM information-seeking behaviour, and decision-making experience pertaining to CAM. This research idea was developed following a number of projects completed as part of the Complementary Medicine Education and Outcomes (CAMEO) research program. The data presented for the first time in this thesis were collected from support persons as part of an initial study of the CAMEO research program. Surveys completed before and after the education seminar were used to examine the impact of the education seminar on support persons. Six measurement scales comprised the baseline and follow-up surveys: a CAM use survey, a CAM knowledge scale, two decisional outcomes scales (i.e., decision self-efficacy and decision conflict), a distress scale, and a demographic form. The conceptual frameworks providing the foundation for the CAMEO program, as well as data collection and analysis, were the Shared Decision Making and Ottawa Decision Support Framework. The Supportive Care Framework informed how decision support interventions were developed and offered by the CAMEO program, including the patient and support person education intervention. ii There was no significant difference in support persons’ CAM use following the seminar. After the seminar, most people continued to find information about CAM using the Internet; however, there was a significant increase in the use of the CAMEO website. In addition, significant increases in support persons’ CAM knowledge were observed, as well as improved confidence in four key areas of CAM decision making. A significant decrease in support persons’ decisional conflict was also found. No significant changes in decision- making distress were found.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International