This article explores the perspective of people living with Parkinson’s disease before and after participating in speech treatment delivered by a speech and language therapist (SLT). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 participants. These interviews were held face to face with the researchers prior to receiving treatment and consequently six months after treatment finished. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded. Results demonstrate that expectations were modest and participants report good experiences. Yet there were other areas of communication, such as family education and cognitive communication difficulties that were not addressed by the intervention. The researchers then discuss how SLTs could improve the services they provide by comparing the results with principles around the theory of self-management. They highlight that using a communication self-management toolbox (targeting multiple aspects of communication) rather than simply focussing on speech could help people live (and communicate) with their Parkinson’s disease in the real world. This model includes aspects such as patient-centred goal setting and educating people to ensure they fully understand their condition. People are living longer and are also now living longer with progressive neurological diseases. Chronic disease self-management is a principle that SLTs could use to improve the value of their services for this increasing population.

Incorporating the principles of self-management into treatment of dysarthria associated with parkinson’s disease.
Yorkston K, Baylor C, Britton D.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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