In May 2014, the Wall Street Journalís Informed Patient column discussed how patients living with movement disorders, including Parkinsonís disease, may benefit from seeking care from a specialist.
Movement disorder specialists are neurologists with additional training in movement disorders and can often be a critical step in connecting patients with allied care providers such as physical and occupational therapists.
As noted in the article, studies have shown that only 40% to 60% of PD patients ever seek care from a specialist. And with the number of PD patients expected to double by 2030, awareness for these types of physicians is becoming crucial.
In fact, a survey conducted by Harris Poll found that fewer than half of Parkinsonís patients surveyed were even aware of movement disorder specialists, and only about 28 percent of patients were currently seeing one.
To address this knowledge gap, The Michael J. Fox Foundation and AbbVie established Partners in Parkinsonís in spring 2014. The educational initiative connects people living with Parkinsonís and their families with critical resources and support right in their own backyard. Educational community events feature panel discussions with clinicians, researchers, allied health care professionals and others, discussing topics patients at every stage of Parkinsonís can benefit from. Events also include resource fairs with representatives from organizations and groups based in the local community.
The article goes on to share the story of two individuals living with Parkinsonís disease and their experience seeking care from a movement disorder specialist. Beth Hochstein, from Great Neck, New York, retired early from her career as a podiatrist following her diagnosis in 2007 at age 36. Early in her experience with the disease, Hochstein consulted a movement disorder specialist who suggested she try exercise.
The article notes Ms. Hochsteinís personal experience:
Dr. Hochstein had grown up dancing and took it up again, starting with hip-hop and then popular Zumba classes. She trained with a program called Dance for PD led by the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Mark Morris Dance Company and now teaches a class affiliated with a hospital near her home.
Dennis Ploszaj of Findlay, Ohio was diagnosed with Parkinsonís in 2005 at 56. After attending a seminar held by Dr. Lawrence Elmer, movement disorder specialist and director of the University of Toledoís Gardner-McMaster Parkinson Center, Mr. Ploszaj changed physicians and began seeing Dr. Elmer.
Mr. Ploszaj, empowered to stay engaged, participates in clinical trials for hearing and speech therapy and volunteers to help other patients.
Visit the Partners in Parkinsonís website to learn more about the benefits of seeking care from a movement disorder specialist and to find an event near you.
The full Wall Street Journal article ďSpecialized Care Urged for Treating Parkinsonís DiseaseĒ was published on May 26 and can be found by Google searching the headline.†