Integrative Medicine in the Dutch healthcare system: prerequisites and tools for implementation

van Vliet M. Integrative Medicine in the Dutch healthcare system : prerequisites and tools for implementation [PhD dissertation]. Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University; 2017. Mid Sweden University Doctoral thesis, 261.

Integrative Medicine (IM) is a care approach that focuses on the overall well-being and healing process of patients rather than solely on their disease. IM educates and empowers people to be active players in their own care, emphasizes the therapeutic relationship, and makes use of all appropriate evidence-based approaches. The health-oriented foundations of IM are in line with the recently posed concept that describes health as ”the ability to adapt and to self-manage”. Due to the shared underpinnings of both IM and the new concept of health, incorporation of this new concept of health may serve as a facilitator for the development and implementation of IM. From a practical viewpoint, working from an integrative care approach requires specific competences from healthcare providers, such as socio-communicative and self-reflective skills, and reflexivity towards a holistic perspective on health. Previous studies have shown that a Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) course can potentially foster these competences among future healthcare providers. This thesis intended to gain increased insight into the prerequisites and tools for implementation of IM. Therefore, in the first part it aimed to explore the attitudes and practice of IM among Dutch nurses and the support for the new dynamic concept of health as ”the ability to adapt and to self-manage” among main stakeholders within the Dutch healthcare community. Furthermore, in the second part it aimed to evaluate the possibilities of an MBM course among medical and nursing students as a tool to foster an integrative care approach.