More people are relying on alternative practices and less conventional therapies for a wide variety of problems. Alternative therapies have gained increasing popularity, recognition, and usage in the past decade. Minimal knowledge exists regarding the alternative health care practices of the essentially homebound population who may be more likely to use alternative forms of health care due to the difficulty in leaving home and in following with certain cultural beliefs and practices. The focus of this descriptive study was to describe the alternative health practices of home health clients and how these practices may effect care in the primary care setting. Leininger's Transcultural Nursing Theory served as the theoretical framework. The research question was as follows: What are the alternative health practices among homebound adults? The various types of alternative therapies used were the variables of interest in this descriptive study. The target population was rural homebound adults ages 21 or older who are currently being served by a home health nurse in rural Northeast Mississippi. A convenience sample design was utilized with an accessible population of 50. The sample completed the Barrett Folk/Alternative Health Information Survey (Revised). Descriptive statistics including frequencies, distributions, and percentages were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study indicated that alternative health practices were commonly used by homebound adults. The top five alternative therapies were prayer. Vaseline, honey, meditation, and aloe vera. Commonly used alternative health practices among homebound adults were common, inexpensive, household items found in most homes. Nurse practitioners need to promote an open attitude about the use of alternative therapies so they can talk openly to clients who may be using them. The nurse practitioner should routinely assess for the use of alternative therapies so that they can teach safety and possible interactions with other drugs. Recommendations for further research included further studies to determine some of the negative experiences clients have had with alternative therapies and for what diagnosis the client used the particular alternative therapy.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Lorraine Hamm

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Smyth

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda Cox

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons