Occupational Therapist and Parkinson’s Disorder

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is the one profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. 

Occupational Therapy for Parkinson’s Disorder  (PD) 

Occupational therapy is used to help people with PD to continue with their daily tasks as the disorder progresses. 

How can an occupational therapist help?

In PD, occupational therapist’s primary objective is to enable patients to participate in the activities of everyday life by working with them to improve their ability to engage in tasks they want to, need to, or are expected to do.

The areas where the Occupational therapist provides treatment in PD are in,

Mobility: Here the therapists help people with PD to concentrate on their walking and standing. Occupational therapists also teach patients how to change direction without abrupt turns to optimize stability. They may also check for the need of walking aids and home modifications.

Prevention of falls: The therapists aims to reduce the risk of falls in PD patients. Also they recommend  people with PD to pay full attention and to concentrate on walking and using alternative equipment when carrying items, such as diagonal shoulder bags, body belts, or trolleys.

Fatigue management: People with PD find that they become tired more quickly, which may be due to the effort of staying upright and inefficient movement strategies. occupational therapists can review routines and help prioritize tasks, restructure activities according to energy levels, and introduce regular resting periods, including good sleep.

Sit-to-stand transfers: Sit-to-stand transfers from chairs, toilets are difficult for people with PD. OT can provide appropriate strategies like equipments to aid transfers including chair risers, riser recliner armchairs, and level-access showers instead of a bath.

Bed mobility: Therapists teach movement methods for turning over in bed, adjusting a position, and getting out of bed.

Domestic skills: Meal preparations, housework, and shopping may be affected due to loss of coordination and balance, and a reduced ability to multitask. Small items of equipment may be introduced to help promote domestic skills, such as non-slip latex for easier jar opening, lever taps to reduce effort when using taps, and a wire mesh to help drain pans or vegetables. Extra assistance for housework such as ironing, maintenance tasks, and management of paperwork may be required.

Eating and drinking: Therapists can recommend good sitting posture, adequate lighting, and ways to have fewer distractions while eating and drinking. Occupational therapists also assess if modified eating and drinking equipment are required to minimize difficulties.

Handwriting: People with PD tend to have micrographia, or handwriting where letters are smaller and sloping toward page corners instead of straight across. Visual or auditory cues as well as sitting comfortably and in an upright position at a table with good lighting may help with handwriting.