A controlled trial of an educational programme for people with Parkinson's disease


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Abstract

Aims and objectiveTo evaluate patient-reported health outcomes of a multidisciplinary group educational programme for people with Parkinson's disease (PD), delivered as part of routine clinical practice.BackgroundStudies suggest that educational programmes for people with PD have potential to improve patients' perceived health and well-being. However, controlled trials of multidisciplinary group educational programmes are lacking.DesignNaturalistic non-randomized controlled trial.MethodsFollowing ethical approval and informed consent, 48 people with PD (58% men; mean age, 69·3) received the intervention and 48 (52% men; mean age, 72) were allocated to a delayed intervention control group. The intervention was a six-week (two hours per week) multidisciplinary group educational programme. Patient-reported health outcomes were assessed by the 12-item short-form health survey (SF-12) at baseline and one month postintervention.ResultsChanges in SF-12 scores at follow-up did not differ between the groups and there were no within-group differences over time. Daily dopaminergic medication increased in the control group but not in the intervention group.ConclusionsSlightly, but significantly, increased drug requirement in the control group may in part have masked deterioration in perceived health. However, failure to demonstrate improved patient-reported health may relate to the intervention design, response shift (i.e. change in how people perceive their health), and/or quality and choice of outcome measures. Further studies that take these aspects into consideration are needed to determine the potential for patient education interventions in PD.Relevance to clinical practiceNurses and other healthcare professionals need to document the effects of patient educational programmes and to be aware of the importance of intervention design and challenges associated with evaluating programme outcomes. Otherwise, there is a risk that benefits cannot be demonstrated and that decision makers will not invest resources in interventions that actually are beneficial for chronically ill people.

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