YOUR COMPREHENSIVE CARE TEAM

As a person living with Parkinson’s disease, your needs for care and support go beyond just symptom management. Your treatment should also address your physical, social and emotional needs. You may benefit from a team of professionals who can work together to help provide the level of care you deserve. Here are some of the people who can make valuable contributions to your care.

You
Who’s on your treatment team — and how much they are part of your care — will depend on your needs. These relationships are likely to change as your Parkinson’s advances. But identifying where you are in your disease and communicating openly with your doctor may help you identify additional professionals that could help enhance your care.

Your Caregiver
Among all the important members of your team, the person helping you every day is partner #1. Being with you the most, he or she may notice even minor changes and can communicate that valuable information to your treatment team. Sharing everything you can with your caregiver can help you get the best care possible. And remember, your caregiver needs support, too. Respect each other and have open, honest conversations about the disease and your feelings.

Your Treatment Team

  • Movement disorder specialists are neurologists with additional training in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. They may be involved in research or education in addition to working with patients, and are often located in a major medical institution.
  • General neurologists specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord and nerves. They treat a variety of neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.
  • Primary care providers (PCPs) address a range of health-related problems, and are often the first health care professionals consulted when a person experiences an illness. A PCP can diagnose and treat common health-related problems, and can also direct patients to specialists, as needed.
  • Allied care professionals, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, counselors and nutritionists, can be very important participants of your treatment team. Some people utilize these professionals continuously to help with some of the symptoms of PD, whereas others use them in response to an acute situation. Talk to your doctor about whether including an allied care professional on your team is appropriate for you.
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