Enabling functional independence in Parkinson's disease: Update on occupational therapy intervention


  • Ashwini K. Rao OTR, EdD

    Corresponding author
    1. Program in Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York, USA
    • Program in Physical Therapy, Columbia University Medical Center, Neurological Institute, 8th Floor, 710 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Potential conflict of interest: The author reports no conflict of interest.


Motor impairment and functional limitations are known sequelae of Parkinson's disease. Occupational therapy (OT) is recognized as an important adjunct to pharmacological management. This critical review provides an update on the effectiveness of OT. Eight studies were included in the review, three on occupational therapy task-related training, two on functional training with external cues and three on OT as part of interdisciplinary treatment. Due to lack of level I studies, it is difficult to determine conclusively the effect of OT. However, there is evidence to suggest that treatment produces improvements in motor and quality of life for the duration of therapy. Implications for future studies and practice are discussed. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society