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The number of Parkinson's disease patients who are being referred for physiotherapy within two years of their diagnosis is on the rise, a new study has shown.
Data from the 2017 UK Parkinson's Audit have highlighted recent improvements in the standard of care offered to people with this disease, with the growing involvement of physiotherapists playing a key role in this.
Compiled by the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network, this represented the largest dataset ever collected about the quality of care provided to Parkinson's sufferers across the UK, with data from 95 physiotherapy services and 1,514 people with Parkinson's included in the analysis.
It was shown that 52 per cent of people with Parkinson's are now referred for physiotherapy within two years of diagnosis, up from 49.3 per cent in 2015. Meanwhile, 89.5 per cent of physiotherapists say they have been able to access Parkinson's-related continuing professional development in the past two years.
The report also showed that 85.2 per cent of physios reported using outcome measures to assess the progress of their patients, which is higher than the previous report. However, this also means that 14.8 per cent of physiotherapists are not using any outcome measures at all, which is a potential cause for concern.
Physiotherapist Fiona Lindop, therapy lead for the UK Parkinson's Excellence Network, told Frontline: "We really want to capture people in the diagnosis phase, so we can encourage them in terms of exercise and maintaining their mobility and independence right from the start.
"They might not need physiotherapy on a regular basis at that point, but they do need an assessment and intervention advice."
In order to achieve a higher standard of performance, the report called for an increase in specialised multidisciplinary working, standardised practices, better communication and information sharing, and a greater focus on anticipatory care planning.
Written by Mathew Horton
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