In this article we examine decision-making about complementary and alternative medicine use when the patient is an adolescent. A case scenario describes patient-parent conflict when a 14-year-old boy who was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis that has continued to progress even with medication refuses recommended surgery despite his physician's and parents' support for that option; he prefers homeopathy instead. We address (1) who has decision-making authority about treatment for young people, (2) how to determine if a young person can consent to or refuse treatment, (3) special considerations when counseling and treating adolescents (whether they can decide about treatment for themselves), and (4) parent-child conflicts about treatment. In addition, we suggest ways that health care providers can foster a trusting relationship with patients and parents.
- Accepted March 30, 2011.
- Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics