Author: Asprey A, Paterson C, White A.
Primary Care Research Group, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.
Conference/Journal: Acupunct Med.
Date published: 2012 Aug 20
Other: Word Count: 263
Group acupuncture clinics have been introduced in a London hospital and in two general practices in Hertfordshire for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA). Encouraging preliminary reports have been published of the efficacy of the treatment delivered in this setting but its acceptability to patients has not yet been established. The aim was to investigate the acceptability and perceived advantages and disadvantages of acupuncture delivered in the group setting for the treatment of knee OA.
Semistructured interviews were conducted with 16 patients in their own homes and with four nurses over the telephone. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, fully anonymised and analysed thematically.
Group acupuncture was delivered with enthusiasm by nurses, was acceptable and popular with patients and recognised to be cost-efficient. Factors affecting acceptability were situational, interpersonal and intrapersonal. Situational factors included adequacy of the physical space used, flexibility of the appointment system and the changing and adaptable nature of the group. Interpersonal factors were mutual support, the exchange of information, the provision of mixed or single-sex sessions and the role of the acupuncture nurse. Intrapersonal factors that increased acceptability were less clear, but nurses expressed the view that the group setting was less suitable for patients with complex conditions or severe pain.
Acceptability is very high and may be maximised by taking a number of factors into account: full information should be provided before treatment begins; flexibility should be maintained in the appointment system and different levels of contact between fellow patients should be fostered; sufficient space and staffing should be provided and single-sex groups used wherever possible.