Examining complementary medicine informal healthcare use for depression and anxiety in older adults

My name is Dr Romy Lauche and I work for the
Australian Research Centre in Complementary and Integrative Medicine at the Faculty of
Health. My Chancellor’s Post Doc research project is about the health complementary
medicine and informal healthcare use in older Australian women with anxiety and depression.
I’d say it’s like the iceberg you know? Above the water you have all those practitioner-based
therapies but all the other techniques and methods that are used by the patients are
actually hidden underneath the water. Over the counter herbal medications, vitamins and
supplements but also yoga classes, meditation classes and things like that. Our project will examine the use of those
complementary medicines, informal healthcare practises in older Australian women with anxiety
and depression. I was working with a lot of patients suffering from chronic diseases and
in that sample, the self-care techniques were actually very important so I was intrigued
by those methods – they were easily accessible, they were cheap but usually they were underestimated. Being able to work in the Australian Research
Centre in Complimentary and Integrative Medicine is one of the biggest opportunities for me
because ARCCIM is the world-leading centre for public health research especially in the
field of complementary medicine research. What I hope to achieve with my research is
to get a better understanding of those informal healthcare practises and the next step would
be to really take those research findings, bring them back to the communities, to the
patients and all others involved – stakeholders – to make a good use of them finally to
transform the healthcare system to provide the best healthcare for the patients.

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