There is insufficient evidence to support use of occupational therapy interventions for patients with Parkinson's disease. A study has assessed the efficacy of occupational therapy in improving daily activities of patients with Parkinson's disease.
Researchers did a multicentre, assessor-masked, randomised controlled clinical trial in ten hospitals in nine Dutch regional networks of specialised health-care professionals ( ParkinsonNet ), with assessment at 3 months and 6 months.
Patients with Parkinson's disease with self-reported difficulties in daily activities were included, along with their primary caregivers.
Patients were randomly assigned ( 2:1 ) to the intervention or control group by a computer-generated minimisation algorithm.
The intervention consisted of 10 weeks of home-based occupational therapy according to national practice guidelines; control individuals received usual care with no occupational therapy.
The primary outcome was self-perceived performance in daily activities at 3 months, assessed with the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure ( score 1-10 ).
Data were analysed using linear mixed models for repeated measures ( intention-to-treat principle ). Assessors monitored safety by asking patients about any unusual health events during the preceding 3 months.
During the period 2011-2012, 191 patients were randomly assigned to the intervention group ( n=124 ) or the control group ( n=67 ). 117 ( 94% ) of 124 patients in the intervention group and 63 ( 94% ) of 67 in the control group had a participating caregiver.
At baseline, the median score on the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure was 4.3 in the intervention group and 4.4 in the control group.
At 3 months, these scores were 5.8 and 4.6, respectively. The adjusted mean difference in score between groups at 3 months was in favour of the intervention group ( 1.2; p less than 0.0001 ).
There were no adverse events associated with the study.
In conclusion, home-based, individualised occupational therapy led to an improvement in self-perceived performance in daily activities in patients with Parkinson's disease.
Further work should identify which factors related to the patient, environmental context, or therapist might predict which patients are most likely to benefit from occupational therapy. ( Xagena )
Sturkenboom IHWM et al, The Lancet Neurology 2014; 13: 557-566