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Dr. Okun

Post of the Week: Will group visits play a role in addressing Parkinson’s disease caregiver strain in the future?

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Ray Dorsey and colleagues from the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence in Rochester, NY, recently asked an interesting question: can group visits for Parkinson’s disease care provide a feasible alternative to regular doctor visits? The idea of group visits is not new for other chronic diseases, but had not been previously studied for Parkinson’ s disease. The investigators from this study concluded that group care was feasible, but surprisingly, overall it did not offer any enhancement to quality of life. There was however something very attractive about group visits to those who participated. In this study, participants received a solid hour and a half with the physician. They also got a rare opportunity at 40 minutes of education on a PD topic at each visit. Finally, both patients and caregivers were granted 20 minutes of discussion and questions, followed by the option of a quick 10 minute personal visit with the doctor. The group visit therefore offered opportunities for socializing, and for fostering the idea that one is not alone with their PD. One wonders whether group visits can also be applied to diminish caregiver strain, which may be an interesting potential topic for future study.




1. Dorsey ER, Deuel LM, Beck CA, Gardiner IF, Scoglio NJ, Scott JC, Marshall FJ, Biglan KM. Group patient visits for Parkinson disease: A randomized feasibility trial. Neurology. 2011 May 3;76(18):1542-7. Epub 2011 Apr 27. PubMed PMID: 21525426.

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