Do you hear me?: the caregivers' experience of osteopathy for their child’s otitis media

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McCulloch, Jane
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Osteopathy
Unitec Institute of Technology
Niven, Elizabeth
Gasquoine, Susan
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
osteopathic medicine
otitis media (OM)
shared decision making
care givers
middle ear infections
ear infections
McCulloch, J. (2017). Do you hear me?: The caregivers’ experience of osteopathy for their child’s otitis media. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Osteopathy). Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Retrieved from
AIMS: It is not commonly known that osteopathy can be beneficial for children with otitis media (OM). The research aims of this study are twofold. Firstly, to explore the parents’ experience of having their child treated for otitis media by an osteopath. Secondly, to stimulate the discussion regarding adjunct treatments for otitis media. DESIGN: A qualitative study using interpretive description. Recruitment was via advertising material in osteopathic and allied health clinics in the greater Auckland region as well by as word of mouth. Data were collected via semi-structured audio-recorded interviews, analysed thematically and themes evolved through the process of interpretative description. FINDINGS: Irrespective of the outcome of the osteopathic treatment for otitis media, all participants continue to use osteopathy as a treatment option for themselves and their families. Three themes were identified, (1) first line treatment paths, (2) the emotional impact of parenting a child with otitis media (3) osteopathy for otitis media. An overarching theme ‘Do you hear me’ refers to the interpretation of the ever-present subtext of caring for a child with OM. CONCLUSIONS: Osteopathy offers a non-invasive, drug-free treatment approach for children with otitis media. Research suggests osteopathy could have a place in providing adjunct treatment to standard biomedical care for otitis media. Regardless of the chosen treatment, positive shared decision making between care giver and health professional plays a significant role in the outcome of a child’s illness narrative.
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