Background: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture in improving quality of life (QOL) and activities of daily living among elderly patients with hypertension and impaired physical mobility in home health care.
Methods: Seventy participants were allocated randomly to receive either acupuncture together with antihypertensive drugs (n = 35) or antihypertensive drugs only (n = 35). Acupuncture was conducted twice a week for 12 consecutive weeks, each lasting 30 minutes. Acupuncture points San Yin Jiao, Xue Hai, Taichong, Zusanli, and Hegu acupuncture points were used bilaterally. The primary outcome was change in QOL score, evaluating by Short-Form 36 Item Health Survey (SF-36). Secondary outcomes were changes in Barthel index score and blood pressure. Besides, pain evaluation by Visual analog scale, among acupuncture and control subgroups in participants with diagnosis with disease of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (ICD-9: 710-739).
Results: Thirty-one participants in each of the acupuncture group and the control group completed the study. After 12 weeks of treatment, compared with the control group, the combination of antihypertensive treatments and acupuncture helped to improve bodily pain (P = .03), physical component summary (P = .04), mental health (P < .001), mental component summary (P = .008), Barthel index (P = .02), and systolic blood pressure (P = .01). In contrast, the control group showed no significant changes. Change in pain score revealed that there were a significant between-group differences after 6weeks (P = .01) and 12weeks of treatment (P = .001).
Conclusion: The results of the study suggested that in home health care elderly patients with hypertension and impaired physical mobility, antihypertensive drugs combined with acupuncture therapy will be more beneficial to improve QOL, activities of daily living, and blood pressure.