Health and social care professionals and Parkinson's
There's a range of health and social care professionals that can
help people affected by Parkinson's -
offering essential services, practical help and general advice.
Specialist Parkinson's nurses also
play a vital role in the delivery of care to people with
Read on to find out which health and social care professionals
can help you if you have Parkinson's.
If you're in the more advanced stages of Parkinson's - or you're
caring for somebody who is - take a look at which health and social care professionals
can help people with advanced Parkinson's.
And if you're a health or social care professional yourself,
take a look at our section for
If you don't understand something the doctor has said, ask them to repeat it and make sure you understand before you leave the surgery.
Sharon McGinn, Information and Support Worker
Dietitians can help if you have problems with your diet, for
example if you are underweight or overweight, or have digestive
problems such as constipation.
Your GP can refer you to a dietitian. And in some areas you can
Our Diet and Parkinson's booklet
provides information on diet for people with Parkinson's, including
tips on shopping, cooking and eating.
Consultants are hospital doctors, usually neurologists or
specialists in care of the elderly (geriatricians) with a
particular interest in Parkinson's.
Referral to a consultant is essential.
This is because Parkinson's is a complex condition which is
difficult to diagnose. And it can require complex drug treatment
which may need to be adjusted as the condition progresses.
Not all neurologists specialise in Parkinson's, so try to ensure
that you are referred to one who does.
General practitioners (GPs) are a gateway to many health
services, from hospital consultants to therapists, and
psychologists to home care.
Many of these services are only available with a GP
To help you get the most out of your GP consultations, see our
Occupational therapists help people with disabilities to stay
independent by advising on ways of making homes and workplaces
safer or more user friendly.
They can be contacted directly in some areas or a referral can
be made via your GP, consultant, community health service or Social
Services/Social Work Department.
To find out more, take a look at our Occupational therapy and Parkinson's information
Pharmacists' specialist understanding of the make-up and
interactions of the chemicals in the drugs you are prescribed
enables them to give very precise advice.
They will also advise on dispensing aids such as pill timers, or
be able to offer advice if you find opening bottles difficult.
Find your nearest pharmacy services:
And if you're a hospital or community pharmacist, read
about Parkinson's resources and support for
Psychologists and counsellors
Psychologists and counsellors give assistance and support to
people with depression or other mental health issues.
People with Parkinson's may experience a degree of depression at
Your GP can refer you to a psychologist or counsellor if this
More on depression and
Physiotherapists are trained health professionals who use
physical treatments, including exercise, to help manage any
stiffness in joints and to restore muscle strength and
They can also advise or train your carer (if you have one) in
safe ways to help you with movement problems, and suggest ways to
Early referral is strongly recommended. This is usually via your
GP, hospital consultant or Parkinson's nurse. Some also work
You can find out more in our Physiotherapy and Parkinson's information
Social workers provide a wide range of non-medical care that may
include advice on home support, claiming benefits and respite
They are also responsible for your community care assessment and
for carers' assessments.
Take a look at the Gov.uk for more information on social
services and how to contact your local Social Services Department
(or Social Work Department if you live in Scotland) for access to a
Speech and language therapists
Speech and language therapists specialise in all aspects of
communication, from facial expression and body language to speech
and communication aids. They are also experts in swallowing
In most areas, self-referral to a speech and language therapist
is possible through the speech and language therapy department at
your local hospital.
Referrals can also be made through your GP or specialist.
You can read more in our Speech and
language therapy and Parkinson's information sheet.
In this section
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