late-stage Parkinson's disease, rehabilitation



  1. Calne, Susan M. CM, RN


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a common, chronic progressive neurodegenerative disease most often of the elderly, although 20% of those diagnosed may be under the age of 50 years. Drug therapy to replace depleted dopamine and some surgery is available to provide good symptom control for several years. Patients live with late-stage PD for many years unless they succumb to a concurrent life-threatening illness. Rehabilitation therapists are most often not asked to become involved with a patient with PD until there is little rewarding left to offer. This article provides information about the problems of late-stage PD, argues for the early intervention of rehabilitation specialists in the management of PD, and suggests strategies from a nursing perspective.