Integrative pediatrics survey: Parents report high demand and willingness to self-pay for complementary and integrative medicine in German hospitals

Complement Ther Med. 2021 Aug:60:102757. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102757. Epub 2021 Jul 8.


Background: In Germany, there is hardly any institutionalization of pediatric complementary and integrative medicine (CIM) present, which is one reason why the statutory health insurance companies usually do not cover the costs. Which in turn serves as an obstacle for integrating CIM into routine pediatric care. Within the present study, we assessed existing demand for CIM methods in parents of children in clinical primary care and whether the parents would be willing to cover the costs privately.

Methods: Parents who visited the Pediatric Department of the Elisabeth Hospital, Essen, Germany and the Children's Hospital St. Marien, Landshut, Germany with their children in 2015 and 2016 were asked to take part in a paper-pencil survey. Both outpatients and inpatients were interviewed.

Results: 1323 parents took part in the survey. 40 % of them stated that they already use CIM for their children. Homeopathy was the most frequently mentioned with almost 60 %, followed by osteopathy and phytotherapy. More than 80 % of the participants endorsed the expansion of the CIM offers in respective hospitals. Homeopathy was the method most desired by the parents, followed by osteopathy, phytotherapy and massage therapies. The majority (88 %) of the parents stated that they would like to take advantage of an extended range of services, including extra services that they would have to pay privately for.

Conclusion: Many parents are already using CIM for their children and are looking forward to CIM being incorporated in clinical primary care. They would also be willing to bear the costs themselves if the therapy in question is not covered by their insurance. pay for the costs themselves if the therapy is not covered by their insurance.

Keywords: Pediatrics; Primare care; Survey; Usage.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Integrative Medicine*
  • Parents
  • Pediatrics*