The purpose of this study is to compare the acupressure program with abdominal massage and laxatives for constipation in elderly nursing home residents. An experimental research design was conducted in two nursing homes in Hsinchu City, Taiwan, with ninety elderly (aged over sixty-five years) nursing home residents who experienced bowel openings less than twice a week.
Subjects were assigned to three groups randomly, one is control group (with laxatives only), and the other two are experimental groups (one with laxatives and abdominal massage and the other with laxatives, acupressure and abdominal massage). The research was performed over 10 days. A double blind (residents and assessors blind) and a randomized controlled study were applied for the research. Nursing home residents were unaware of the group to which they belonged. The assessor was unaware of the particular residents categorized for the experimental group. Each of the two intervention groups was compared with the control group. Constipation evaluation sheets were recorded daily for ten days. Observation of the frequency of defecation and the consistency, particularly firmness, of feces over each twenty-four hour period was recorded on the appropriate record sheets. Two researchers were trained in the process of abdominal massage and acupressure. Analysis was performed using EPI-INFO and SAS software for deviation, chi-square and a generalized estimating equation test. Research results showed: three variations as interference factors were turned out and there was no relevant evidence from each of the groups.
The research result does not demonstrate the effectiveness of acupressure as an intervention in constipation of elderly nursing home residents. The interference factors have been controlled although they may have been affected by fluid and fruit intake and different diseases suffered by participants. Further studies with strict control of the interference factors are needed.