Palliative Care in Parkinson's Disease: Implications for Neuroscience Nursing

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Abstract

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurological disease affecting 1.5 million Americans. The modern success of pharmacology and deep-brain stimulation surgery to treat the motor symptoms of tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia provide PD patients with longer lives and increased motor functioning. However, in the moderate and advanced stages of disease, the therapeutic benefits of pharmacology diminish and motor symptoms are more complicated to treat. The nonmotor symptoms of PD receive little attention in clinical settings, although they can lead to disability and caregiver burden. The Center to Advance Palliative Care advocates applying the principles of palliative care to chronic disease. Likewise, the World Health Organization has redefined palliative care to include life-threatening illness. The Parkinson's Disease Model of Care (PDMC) takes the precepts of palliative care and presents a model for the neuroscience nurse to use in individual care planning across the trajectory of disease. The PDMC guides the nurse in providing relief from suffering for PD patients and their families, from diagnosis through bereavement, with an emphasis on advance care planning.

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