Background: Sleep disorders are very common in elderly institutionalized people with dementia and acupressure recently has been associated with conventional medicine in their treatment.
Aims: Exploring the effectiveness of acupressure for the treatment of insomnia and other sleep disturbances and we want to show that the acupressure treatment is feasible also in elderly resident patients.
Methods: We enrolled institutionalized patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease with mild cognitive impairment and insomnia. A daily acupressure on HT7 point (H7 Insomnia Control(®)) was performed for a 8-week period. We administered the following scales: the mini mental state examination, the global deterioration scale, the neuropsychiatric inventory, the state-trait-anxiety inventory, the activity daily living and the instrumental activity daily living, the global health quality of life, and the Pittsburgh sleep quality index.
Results: After receiving the acupressure treatment, patients saw a significant decrease of sleep disorders. The number of hours of effective sleep was perceived as increased. Furthermore, the time necessary to fall asleep decreased significantly and also the quality of sleep increased. Additionally, also the quality of life was bettered. Sedative drugs have been reduced in all patients involved in the study.
Conclusions: Acupressure can be recommended as a complementary, effective, and non-intrusive method to reduce sleep disturbances in old resident patients affected by cognitive disorders. A limitation of the study is the small sample size. More studies are needed to further validate the results of our study.