A framework set up by the Parkinson’s Foundation can help therapists and other professionals design more personalized exercise programs for people with Parkinson’s disease.
The Competency Framework, as it’s called, outlines programs, courses and approaches that help educate and train movement specialists, given the importance of exercise for Parkinson’s patients. It was established by the foundation in collaboration with experts from several US institutions, including the Northwestern University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the American College of Sports Medicine and the Boston University College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.
Details are in the viewpoint article “Parallel development of Parkinson’s-specific competencies for exercise professionals and criteria for exercise education programmes,” published in Parkinsonism and related disorders.
‘Safe and beneficial exercises’ that could slow progression and improve quality of life
“Research clearly shows that regular exercise is associated with a slower decline in mobility and has many benefits,” Lisa Hoffman, director of career education at the Parkinson’s Foundation and co-author of the paper, said in a press release from the University of California. foundation. “With the first PD exercise competence framework for exercise professionals, we aim to equip them with an evidence-based competence framework so they can provide safe and beneficial exercises that can help improve symptom management, slow down disease progression and improve quality of life. “
Exercise specialists are often members of the care team, in more frequent contact with patients than other physicians. While they play an essential role in Parkinson’s care, no unified standard has defined the practice competencies for these professionals.
Yet exercise is important for patients because it helps them maintain the mobility and balance and independence needed to carry out daily routines. Different exercise programs pursue various fitness goals, from flexibility to strength and endurance.
The framework, which also serves to mitigate variability in exercise delivery and can help evaluate an exercise program, outlines how professionals should create and deliver exercise for a person with Parkinson’s. The framework includes key components to help therapists and others achieve core competencies when working with patients and is broken down into categories:
- Fundamental information on the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s and the role of exercise in Parkinson’s
- Screening of patients for exercise participation
- Designing exercises for groups and individuals
- Human behavior and counseling
- Interprofessional communication and program development
“These expectations collectively shape how exercise professionals design and provide exercise leadership to people with Parkinson’s,” the framework notes. Its five domains are “intended to aid interpretation. Each describes important components that, in combination with their existing expertise, help exercise professionals achieve competency when working with people with Parkinson’s.
Exercise programs that meet the competencies of the framework and the organization’s criteria for exercise education may become part of the foundation’s exercise accreditation recognition program. Exercise professionals who are looking to further develop their knowledge and skills in Parkinson’s and exercise for patients are encouraged to participate in one of the organization’s accredited programs and courses.
Learn more about exercise recommendations for Parkinson’s and the foundation’s accreditation recognition program.
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