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Keywords:

  • Parkinson disease;
  • randomized, controlled trial;
  • quality of life;
  • multidisciplinary care;
  • patient care team

Multidisciplinary care is considered an optimal model to manage Parkinson's disease (PD), but supporting evidence is limited. We performed a randomized, controlled trial (RCT) to establish whether a multidisciplinary/specialist team offers better outcomes, compared to stand-alone care from a general neurologist. Patients with PD were randomly allocated to an intervention group (care from a movement disorders specialist, PD nurses, and social worker) or a control group (care from general neurologists). Both interventions lasted 8 months. Clinicians and researchers were blinded for group allocation. The primary outcome was the change in quality of life (Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire; PDQ-39) from baseline to 8 months. Other outcomes were the UPDRS, depression (Montgomery-Asberg Depression Scale; MADRS), psychosocial functioning (Scales for Outcomes in Parkinson's disease-Psychosocial; SCOPA-PS), and caregiver strain (Caregiver Strain Index; CSI). Group differences were analyzed using analysis of covariance adjusted for baseline values and presence of response fluctuations. A total of 122 patients were randomized and 100 completed the study (intervention, n = 51; control, n = 49). Compared to controls, the intervention group improved significantly on PDQ-39 (difference, 3.4; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.5–6.2) and UPDRS motor scores (4.1; 95% CI: 0.8–7.3). UPDRS total score (5.6; 95% CI: 0.9–10.3), MADRS (3.7; 95% CI: 1.4–5.9), and SCOPA-PS (2.1; 95% CI: 0.5–3.7) also improved significantly. This RCT gives credence to a multidisciplinary/specialist team approach. We interpret these positive findings cautiously because of the limitations in study design. Further research is required to assess teams involving additional disciplines and to evaluate cost-effectiveness of integrated approaches. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society