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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 678410, 6 pages
Research Article

Introduction of Auricular Acupuncture in Elderly Patients Suffering from Major Depression: Protocol of a Mixed Methods Feasibility Study

1Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Tübingen, Calwerstraße 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
2Geriatric Center at the University Hospital Tübingen, Calwerstraße 14, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
3Institute for Occupational and Social Medicine, and Health Services Research, University of Tübingen, Wilhelmstraße 27, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
4Coordination Centre, Core Facility for Health Services Research, Faculty of Medicine, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Wilhelmstraße 27, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
5Department of General Practice, University of Tübingen, Österbergstraße 9, 72074 Tübingen, Germany
6LEAD Graduate School, University of Tübingen, Gartenstraße 29a, 72074 Tübingen, Germany

Received 2 February 2015; Accepted 19 March 2015

Academic Editor: Cristiano Capurso

Copyright © 2015 Janina Geib et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Due to an increasing number of elderly people suffering from major depression and potential side effects of the prescribed drugs, the introduction of new therapeutic approaches is needed. Currently, in Germany, auricular acupuncture is no part of clinical care for gerontopsychiatric patients. Based on promising clinical experiences and existing evidence for treating addiction and trauma, a benefit of auricular acupuncture integrated in existing treatment programs in elderly patients may be hypothesized. Within this project auricular acupuncture according to the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA) will be integrated in the multimodal treatment regime for elderly patients with major depression in a daytime ward setting. Methods/Design. To evaluate the feasibility and acceptance a mixed method approach is used. In a day clinic, a sample of 20 psychogeriatric patients with the diagnosis of major depression will be enrolled. The patients will receive a total of nine auricular acupuncture treatments according to the standardized NADA protocol in a group setting. The therapeutic process, its organization, the experience, and the willingness of patients to participate will be evaluated by interviews with patients and the therapeutic team. Data will be analyzed qualitatively using content analysis. Additionally, quantitative outcome parameters will be measured by standardized questionnaires.