Health Professional Support Links
The Parkinson’s journey is different for everyone. Whilst Parkinson’s SA&NT are here to provide quality service and support, we don’t always have all the answers or expertise - sometimes some other expert supports are needed to help with your self-management. It is important for people living with Parkinson’s to be proactive in the management of their condition. There are a number of health professionals that can help people with Parkinson’s along the way, building a supportive health care team to assist in managing you Parkinson’s health.
Some of the main professions that you can connect with to form a part of YOUR care team include:
Nutrition and Dietetics
A dietitian is an expert in dietetics; that is, human nutrition and the regulation of diet. A dietitian can make recommendations on their patient’s nutrition based upon their medical condition and individual needs.
A Parkinson’s nurse has specialist experience, knowledge and skills in relation to Parkinson’s. A Parkinson’s nurse specialist works closely with neurologists.
Physiotherapy Physiotherapists use exercise and other forms of physical therapy to help keep people mobile.
An OT is a practitioner who helps people interact and engage in everyday life. They do this through activities designed to develop, maintain or retrain skills for people with a disorder, condition or illness (whether that be cognitive, physical or mental). An OT can also recommend ways to make your home and workplace safer and easier to cope with.
Some people with Parkinson’s will experience changes in speech, voice and swallowing at some point during the course of the disease. Dysarthria (difficulty speaking) and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) can be addressed by seeing a speech pathologist or speech therapist who can provide ongoing recommendations such as modifying diets, prescribing exercises and utilising strategies to improve swallowing, as well as teach techniques and offer tips for better communication.
Psychologists can work with patients experiencing adjustment issues related to a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or a change in the disease process. A Psychologist can treat symptoms of anxiety and depression in addition to teaching skills to improve sleep quality. Psychologists are experts in managing changes related to thought processing abilities, also known as cognition. Neuropsychologists can evaluate changes in mood and/or cognition (including executive functioning, processing speed, and attention) and make treatment recommendations in order to maximize the client’s strengths.
The social worker has a central role to play as part of a multi-disciplinary team, helping clients and their families cope with the psycho-social ramifications of movement disorders. Social workers are trained to help people with the social, emotional and financial challenges of life. Please use this guide to help you find contacts and professionals to form your care team, and live well with Parkinson’s. This list is not an exhaustive list, and has been developed through word of mouth and recommendations. We recommend you use this list as a tool to help you get in touch, but do not personally endorse any professional.