To investigate perceptions and acceptability of, and attitudes towards, acupuncture for post-acute stroke and rehabilitation care by exploring the views of different stakeholders.
Three electronic surveys were conducted to gauge the breadth of knowledge and acceptance of acupuncture in post-acute stroke and rehabilitation care among three stakeholder groups: (1) traditional acupuncturists registered with the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC); (2) National Health Service (NHS) professionals attending the 2017 UK Stroke Forum conference; and (3) the UK network of Stroke Club co-ordinators.
Of 278 NHS respondents, 31% were doctors. Over half (52%) of all NHS respondents reported they had insufficient knowledge about acupuncture, its effectiveness (23%) or how to refer (21%). Only 12% had previously referred stroke patients for acupuncture but 46% thought that there was role for acupuncture in post-acute stroke care (50% were unsure). Two thirds of BAcC acupuncturist respondents had treated at least one stroke patient, with 70.1% having treated 1-5 stroke patients and 71% having provided treatment in the last year, most commonly for motor impairment (88.2%). Of 99 Stroke Club coordinators who responded, only seven had ever been asked about acupuncture by patients, but most felt there would be interest.
Interest in the provision of acupuncture for post-acute stroke care was expressed by both NHS practitioners and acupuncturists. Further research is required on the acceptability of acupuncture to patients as well as evidence of its clinical and cost effectiveness.