What health professionals will I see?

Many different healthcare professionals may be involved in helping you manage your Parkinson's. Some will have a bigger role than others, depending on your symptoms.

This group of health professionals that support you to live with Parkinson's is called a multidisciplinary team.

Your GP, specialist or Parkinson's nurse can make referrals to the healthcare professionals listed here. In some areas, you may be able to refer yourself.

If you think you have Parkinson's, the first person you should see is your GP.

Your GP should refer you to a Parkinson's specialist doctor for diagnosis. The GP can also refer you to a range of other healthcare professionals, such as psychologists and physiotherapists.

Your GP may know you well, which can be helpful. But the average GP will only have 3 or 4 patients with Parkinson's, and it’s unlikely they will know as much about the condition as specialists do.

They will be able to give you support with other ways to stay well, including offering a flu vaccine. 

Parkinson's specialists are doctors - usually neurologists or geriatricians (specialists in the care of older people), with a particular interest in Parkinson’s. It’s likely your specialist will have diagnosed you with Parkinson’s.

You will be invited to see your specialist around once every six months to a year. They will check how your Parkinson’s symptoms are affecting you and may suggest changes to your treatment.

Parkinson’s nurses have specialist experience, knowledge and skills in Parkinson’s. They can support you with symptoms, side effects and any other medical issues you might be having problems with.

A large part of their role is helping to manage your medication, so you get the best results and fewer side effects.

Your specialist would usually refer you to them once you get your diagnosis.

Speech and language therapists specialise in all aspects of communication.

This includes speech, using technology, facial expression, problems with eating or swallowing and body language.

Find out more about speech and language therapy.

Occupational therapists can help you stay as independent and as safe as possible.

They assess how able you are to carry out day-to-day activities and suggest ways of making your home and workplace safer or more manageable.

They may recommend equipment for your home, such as grab rails. Or discuss bigger changes such as a stair lift or a wet room.

Find out more about occupational therapy and Parkinson's.

Dietitians can help if you have problems with your diet – for example, if you have problems with your weight or have digestive problems, such as constipation.

Find out more about diet and Parkinson's.

Physiotherapists (sometimes called physios) can help you keep moving and functioning as much as possible.

They can help you with your fitness levels and to maintain good posture and balance.

They can suggest ways you can get the most out of physical activity and exercise.

Find out more about physiotherapy and Parkinson's.

Pharmacists can help you understand the medication you are prescribed and explain how to take it.

If you have other illnesses or conditions, you need medication for, your pharmacist can guide you on how to take these alongside your Parkinson’s medication.

Counsellors and therapists can help you manage your mental health. This may include any feelings of anxiety, low mood or depression.

Last updated August 2022. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]