Care of the Parkinson’s Client
A Few Interesting Facts
- About 30% of all people with Parkinson’s have some degree of dementia.
- About 25% of PD clients experience hallucinations from their PD medications.
- Falling down is one of the most serious consequences of PD.
- 50% of all Parkinson’s clients have speech troubles
- Some research has found that over 50% of people with PD experience periods of depression
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Care of an individual with Parkinson’s Disease requires an understanding of the disease process and how it affects body movements and function. Parkinson’s Disease (also called PD) is a chronic, progressive brain disorder which affects the central nervous system. It affects parts of the brain that control body movements. There are four main symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. They are:
- Tremors (Shaking)
- Rigidity (Stiffness)
- Bradykinesia (Slowness)
- Postural Instability (Unsteadiness)
Our Caregivers are given very specific training on how to care for Parkinson patients, taking into account these symptoms. They know to be alert for problems such as:
- Walking problems-People with PD often have a shuffling gait and slightly bent forward posture.
- Freezing-a sudden stop in movement often when walking.
- Falling Down-Falls usually happen because of a loss of balance.
- Speech problems-People with PD often have low voice volumes, slurred speech or very slow speech patterns.
- Sleep Troubles-Many report nightmares and restlessness
- Mental Confusion
- Fatigue-Frequent rest periods are necessary-Patience a Must!
- Swallowing Problems-Often an issue during late stages
- Constipation and Urinary Difficulties-Both rigidity and slowness of movement affect the bowel and urinary muscles.
In addition to our regular personal care services we stress the importance of the following:
- Exercise-Physical activities for these individuals will help keep them flexible and strong. An outdoor walk or some simple chair exercises can also help to improve mood. Exercise should be fun!
- Warm baths (instead of a shower) can help when experiencing muscle spasms.
- Safety precautions during meals to prevent aspiration: cutting up food, maintaining an upright position during and 30 minutes after meals, thickening liquids with honey or nectar or commercial thickeners if aspiration is an identified risk.
- Allowing sufficient time for these clients to complete a task-everyday tasks such as bathing and dressing can take several hours.
- Fall Risk is high with PD clients-Extra safety precautions and mobility assistance is stressed.