The Impact of COVID-19 on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers: A Cross-sectional Survey in Norway
BackgroundThe Norwegian authorities decided on a nationwide lockdown to prevent spread of the COVID-19 virus. The lockdown had huge socioeconomic consequences for the society. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) providers in Norway.MethodThis cross-sectional survey analyzed data from a self-administrated questionnaire. A total of 581 CAM providers completed the questionnaire, which was designed to describe consequences
... cribe consequences for CAM providers and their clinical practice after the nationwide lockdown. Between group differences were analyzed using chi-square, ANOVA and Fisher's exact test. Significance level was defined as p < 0.05 without adjustment for multiple comparisons.ResultDuring the nationwide lockdown of Norway, 38.4% of respondents were able to provide CAM treatment to their patients. Of those, the majority (96.4%) had reorganized their clinical practice in accordance with COVID-19 hygiene regulations, offered video consultations (57.4%) or telephone consultations (46.6%). To manage financially during the lockdown, half of the providers spent their savings (48.7%). More than one third (35.1%) was supported by their partner, and 26.7% received compensation from the Norwegian state. A total of 26.3% of the CAM providers had other paid work that provided them with income. Nearly a quarter (18.6%) borrowed money from friends and family, changed their loan terms, or took out new bank loans. The majority (62.7%) expressed uncertainty about the future of their practice. CAM providers who had reorganized their practice to online consultations were more optimistic. ConclusionThe impact of COVID-19 on CAM providers was considerable. It adversely affected their clinical practice, financial situation, and view on their future practice. To ensure that the health needs of the Norwegian population regarding CAM use are met during pandemic times like COVID-19, it is recommended to support and train CAM providers in the development of online CAM services, as well as efficient implementation of infection prevention and control measures.