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Therapy programmes for Parkinson's

Therapy is extremely important in helping to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Physiotherapy for Parkinson’s

People with Parkinson's might have difficulties with movements such as sitting, standing and walking. Physiotherapists use physical treatments, including exercise, to help people with movement problems maintain useful function. They can help manage stiffness in joints and can improve muscle strength and mobility.

Physiotherapists can provide help with:
Cueing strategies
Balance and falls
Getting in and out of a chair
Turning over in bed
Walking and posture

Physiotherapists will encourage you to exercise and will work on neural-intensive exercise to try and improve your symptoms. Physiotherapists can also help carers with mobility concerns and give advice on how to prevent falls.

Occupational Therapy for Parkinson’s

This service provides support in helping people maintain independence in a safe way to help with everyday activities that may have started to become a struggle. The Occupational Therapist will look at how they can help make tasks easier.

They provide practical advice and education in the following areas:
Self care (eating, drinking, washing and dressing)
Domestic activities (cleaning and shopping)
Functional mobility (transfers and transport)
Leisure and work
Environment (ramps & rails)
Handwriting technique

Some of the equipment that might be recommended includes:
Kitchen aids
Grab rails
Bed levers
Modified cutlery
Bathroom aids

Speech and Language Therapy for Parkinson’s

The Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) help people with speech, language, communication, swallowing or saliva problems.

Speech problems

SLTs can provide advice about the following:
How to speak more clearly
Voice projection
Speaking with confidence on a one-one basis or within a group setting
Communication aids

Where appropriate, some patients can be referred to a specialist programme for voice training called “Lee Silverman Voice Training” or another similar programme.

Swallowing problems

People with Parkinson’s sometimes experience problems with their swallowing and the SLTs can assess people for this. They will look at the mechanics of a person’s swallow, find out what the problem is, advise on posture techniques when eating, advise on different textured diets and help identify types of food that are easier to swallow. SLTs can also advise on saliva management, for example if people are having problems with drooling.

Parkinson’s Therapy in Coventry & Warwickshire

There is a wide range of therapy services across Coventry and Warwickshire that GPs and/or the Parkinson’s Team can refer to. Therapy teams around the county have set up specific Parkinson’s therapy programmes. In addition, local Parkinson’s UK branches run several classes such as exercise sessions, speech classes, Pilates (contact local P-UK branches for more details).

Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at UHCW, Coventry

The Rehabilitation Unit provides a specialised neurological outpatient rehabilitation therapy service for people with a Coventry GP who have neurological conditions, including people who have Parkinson’s. Specialised therapies include Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Clinical Neuropsychology. The Unit aims to help people achieve their best in terms of mobility and lifestyle. A detailed assessment will create individual goals to enable people to achieve their full potential in returning to everyday living, whether in home, work or leisure settings.

The Rehabilitation Unit receives referrals from Neurologists and Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists. As well as individual therapy intervention, there are also three programmes available to help people with Parkinson’s achieve their best:

Parkinson’s Newly Diagnosed Programme - eight weekly sessions. This course focuses on the evidence around choices to be considered in keeping yourself well and active whilst you are living with Parkinson’s. Each session is split into two components: exercise (which includes stretches, movement and fitness) and discussion of self- management topics (including relaxation).

Parkinson’s Movement Strategy and Self-Management Programme - eight weekly sessions. Each session is split into three components: teaching relaxation techniques, teaching movement strategies and discussion of self-management topics. Group numbers are kept small to enable the therapists to work with individuals to achieve their goals.

Lifestyle Management Programme - ten weekly sessions. This course is designed to support people who are dealing with difficult life situations or who are living with a long term health condition. The programme helps people to gain control over their situation by making use of, and building on, their own coping and recovery strategies. The course aims to boost confidence and self- esteem by acknowledging and celebrating the successes participants achieve along the way.

Other therapies available in the Rehabilitation Unit include Interactive Metronome Therapy and Nordic Walking Training.

Neurological Therapy in South Warwickshire and Rugby

Outpatient Occupational Therapy is provided with individualised assessment and treatment at Leamington Hospital.

Outpatient Physiotherapy is provided with individualised assessment and treatment at three locations:
Leamington Hospital
Stratford Hospital
Orchard Centre Rugby

Virtual assessments and treatment sessions are also available to provide therapy with increased convenience across the region.

Out-patient neurological therapy is a short-term goal-directed service that helps people with PD to identify their main physical issues and address these with an individual home exercise programme/self-management programme and advice.

Parkinson’s Education Programme (PEP) is for people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s within the previous two years. This four-week course is run in partnership with all members of the MDT (PD Nurse, Physio, OT, SALT.) to educate, enable and empower people with Parkinson’s to live with and manage their condition. Courses are run throughout the year.

Neurological Therapy at George Eliot Hospital

Neurological Outpatients at George Eliot Hospital provides a specialised neurological outpatient rehabilitation therapy service for people living in North Warwickshire with a North Warwickshire GP, who have neurological conditions including Parkinson’s.

We work closely with other members of the multi-disciplinary (MDT) team, including Physio, OT, SLT, Dietician and the Parkinson’s Nurse, to ensure the best support for those with Parkinson’s in this area.

Physiotherapy will involve a detailed assessment to establish the person’s main difficulties and to create individual goals to enable people to achieve their full potential in returning to everyday living, in home, work or leisure settings.

Therapy will then include working on those difficulties to try and improve them, as well as giving information and helping the person and their family/carers to manage this long-term condition. This is mainly done in an out-patient setting but home visits can also be done when clinically indicated.

Occupational Therapy provides support, advice and guidance, helping people with Parkinson’s to maintain independence with everyday activities. The Occupational Therapist will see people either in clinic at George Eliot Hospital or at home, if required.

There is a Neuro Upper Limb Group available to people who would like to work on improving strength, dexterity and coordination.

Parkinson’s Education Programme (PEP) is for people who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s within the last two years. Partners or a close family member can also attend. It a 4 week course that is run in partnership with other members of the MDT to educate, enable and empower people with Parkinson’s to live and manage their condition. Roughly four courses are held per year.

Intensive Exercise Parkinson’s class. This is an 8-week circuit-based class incorporating PD Warrior and intensive exercise principles. It is designed to challenge people and works on amplitude, power and balance, as well as multi-tasking elements.

Lead Parkinson’s Therapists: Emma Gadsby, Therapy Team Lead for Neurology and Stroke, George Eliot Hospital. Lissie Broadhead, senior SLT George Eliot Hospital.

Last updated 10 February 2022