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Am J Occup Ther. 2014 Jan-Feb;68(1):39-49. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2014.008706.

Systematic review of the effectiveness of occupational therapy-related interventions for people with Parkinson's disease.

Author information

Erin R. Foster, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Program in Occupational Therapy, Departments of Neurology and Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.
Mayuri Bedekar, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, HCR ManorCare, Roselle, IL.
Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, 26 Winthrop Street, Medford, MA 02155;


We describe the results of a systematic review of the literature on occupational therapy-related interventions for people with Parkinson's disease (PD). Three broad categories of intervention emerged: (1) exercise or physical activity; (2) environmental cues, stimuli, and objects; and (3) self-management and cognitive-behavioral strategies. Moderate to strong evidence exists for task-specific benefits of targeted physical activity training on motor performance, postural stability, and balance. Low to moderate evidence indicates that more complex, multimodal activity training supports improvement in functional movement activities. The evidence is moderate that the use of external supports during functional mobility or other movement activities has positive effects on motor control. In addition, moderate evidence is available that individualized interventions focused on promoting participant wellness initiatives and personal control by means of cognitive-behavioral strategies can improve targeted areas of quality of life. The implications for practice, education, and research are discussed.

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