Is acupuncture an acceptable option in stroke rehabilitation? A survey of stroke patients.

Author: Yam W, Wilkinson JM.
Charles Sturt University, School of Biomedical Sciences, Boorooma St, Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia.
Conference/Journal: Complement Ther Med.
Date published: 2010 Jun - Aug
Other: Volume ID: 18 , Issue ID: 3-4 , Pages: 143-149 , Word Count: 239

OBJECTIVE: Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality and stroke survivors make up the largest group of patients in rehabilitation. These individuals also have one of the longest lengths of stay in rehabilitation. It has been suggested that acupuncture may be beneficial in post-stroke rehabilitation and in this study we examine how stroke patients value acupuncture and their perceptions of acupuncture as a rehabilitation treatment option. DESIGN AND SETTING: A questionnaire was distributed to individuals undergoing post-stroke rehabilitation at three rehabilitation centers attached to hospitals in Toronto, Canada. RESULTS: Two hundred and seventy-three individuals completed the questionnaire with the respondent group comprising mainly males (62%) over 65 years of age (68%). Overall 29% had used acupuncture with 16% receiving acupuncture treatment for stroke related conditions. Almost all respondents (98%) wanted to know more about acupuncture in stroke rehabilitation and 87% would consider acupuncture as a treatment option. Few (8%) reported that they had advanced level knowledge about acupuncture, with most reporting a basic (48%) or intermediate (33%) level which recognized that acupuncture used fine needles to produce a therapeutic response. Those with prior acupuncture experience expected to pay more for treatment. The main factors influencing decisions to use acupuncture were practitioner competency (84%), cost (65%) and sterilization concerns (40%). CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that there is willingness by patients attending conventional hospital-based rehabilitation centers to consider acupuncture in stroke rehabilitation and that lack of knowledge about this treatment is not a barrier to use. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.