Caring for a Person With Parkinson’s Disease
Caregiver Tip Sheet
Prior to Assignment:
Agency caregivers should receive an overview of the client’s condition and stage, as well as any physician-approved exercise, medication or movement programs that are part of the client’s routine activities. Agency caregivers should also be familiarized with Parkinson’s disease and its associated symptoms and behaviors. The Relias “Pro on the Go” Parkinson’s video can be used for this purpose.
One Side or Both?
Typically, Parkinson’s disease initially affects one side of the body more than the other, leaving the stronger side more capable than the affected side. At the start of care, the assessor should ask the client which is their stronger side. Include this information in the care plan, and inform any agency caregivers assigned to that client.
Some clients may use sensory tricks as a strategy to facilitate movement. As a best practice, agency caregivers should not initiate or perform any of these sensory tricks.
Deep Brain Stimulation
Make sure agency caregivers are prepared before seeing a client’s deep brain stimulation system for the first time. That way, they can be more relaxed in their interactions.
Dopamine Continuous Infusion Pump
Inform agency caregivers if a client has a dopamine pump. These tubes can be a source of infections and complications so caregivers should immediately report any changes to the office.
Change in Condition
Agency caregivers should immediately report any changes in the client to the office. These include, but are not limited to, changes in behavior, condition, appearance, mobility or cognitive state.
Meaningful Activities and Music
The Social History Assessment should be completed so that caregivers can use information about a client’s favorite music and hobbies to engage with them more meaningfully. Activities, especially those involving rhythmic music, have been shown to be very effective for people living with Parkinson’s.
Agency caregivers should follow the instructions provided in the care plan.