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More than 50% of newly-qualified physios lack training about Parkinson’s care

9 July 2014 - 4:35pm

The National Parkinson's Audit 2012 has identified a lack of ongoing, post-qualification training and education for physiotherapists working with patients who have the progressive neurological condition.


Parkinson's UK says patients should be referred for physiotherapy at an early stage

The document also states that half of all new physios (51 per cent) has received no training in managing people with Parkinson‘s. Only 28 per cent of physiotherapists receive regular training on the topic.

And nearly 13 per cent of physiotherapists who treat people with Parkinson‘s are in junior band 5 posts, says the document, published by the charity Parkinson’s UK.

Fiona Lindop, the physiotherapy representative on the audit steering group, said: ‘I would like to see access to training for all physiotherapists.

‘Parkinson’s needs specific therapy and physiotherapists must understand the motor fluctuations, the impact of medications and the principles behind interventions, for instance using cues and strategies.’

On the positive side, the audit found that almost all patients (98 per cent) had physiotherapy notes that identified interventions in their initial assessment.

The charity says that people diagnosed with Parkinson‘s should be referred for physiotherapy at an early stage. This would enable them to get advice about what physiotherapy can do to address symptoms that may develop later.

Its report also calls for specialist physiotherapists to assess and manage people with Parkinson’s, because interventions should be evidence-based so that patients get the most appropriate treatment.

Physiotherapists need to use outcome measures, according to the document. The audit found that these are not used for 15 per cent of patients.

Ms Lindop, a specialist physiotherapist at the London Road Community Hospital in Derby, said: ‘I would like outcome measures to be used for 100 per cent of patients, because we need to be producing evidence to show that what we use in physiotherapy works.’

The report is based on the care given to more than 4,000 people with Parkinson's. More than 50 physiotherapy services across the UK were consulted, including community rehabilitation, acute outpatient and social services.

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