Background: Acupuncture is recommended in guidelines for the reduction of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV), but trained providers are lacking in the Australian hospital system. Acupressure provides non-invasive stimulus to acupuncture points, and could be integrated into standard peri-surgical care. In May 2017, acupressure was implemented as part of the PONV management plan at Northern Hospital. Aim: This study assessed patient and staff uptake of acupressure for PONV.
Method: Surgical patients at moderate to high PONV risk were eligible to receive acupressure. A unilateral elasticised wristband was applied to the PC6 acupoint prior to surgery in cases deemed appropriate by staff. Patients were given the choice to use or not use acupressure, or to follow clinicians’ advice. Documentation for surgeries between May and October 2017 was audited to assess patterns of acupressure use.
Results: Records of 1306 surgeries were examined. Of cases where PONV risk assessment was documented, 51% (400/789) were eligible for acupressure. Acupressure was administered to 49% (197/400) of eligible patients. 32% of patients (100/311) preferred to use acupressure, 13% (40/311) preferred not to, and 24% (75/311) chose to follow clinicians’ advice, with 31% (96/311) not expressing a preference. Those who indicated a preference for acupressure, and patients at higher PONV risk, or with previous PONV history, were more likely to receive acupressure.
Conclusions: Initial acupressure uptake was higher for patients for whom the intervention was more clinically or personally relevant; that is, those at higher PONV risk, or those who expressed a preference to utilise the intervention.