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J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2008 Sep;1(1):54-7. doi: 10.1016/S2005-2901(09)60008-X. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Acupuncture treatment in geriatric rehabilitation: a retrospective study.

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Unit of Complementary Medicine, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


The main goal of geriatric rehabilitation reconditioning following an acute illness is rapid restoration of normal activity. Key elements are pain control, restoration of bowel function, sleep, appetite and general well being, alongside physical activity. The aim of this retrospective study was to assess the effect of acupuncture as an adjunct to medical and physical rehabilitation in geriatric patients. The setting was a university-affiliated large city general hospital. The participants comprised 27 consenting consecutive patients in a subacute geriatric rehabilitation department. The interventions consisted of biweekly acupuncture treatment in conjunction with medical and physical therapy. The outcome measures of pain, appetite, quality of sleep, bowel function and general well being were assessed using a 10-point Likert scale at the onset and close of treatment. The results showed that a significant post-treatment improvement was seen in pain (p=0.005), appetite (p=0.0034), bowel function (p=0.029) and general well being (p=0.0012) scores in patients' treatment when compared with pretreatment baseline scores. The "quality of sleep" score showed a trend towards improvement (p=0.073). In conclusion, acupuncture may be beneficial as an adjunctive treatment in geriatric postacute illness rehabilitation. Randomized controlled trials are needed to further assess the role of acupuncture as part of treatment management for restoring normal physical activity in geriatric patients.

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