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Parkinson’s disease

We diagnose and support patients with Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

It’s a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. Parkinson’s is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which controls movement. This leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.

Who’s affected by Parkinson’s?

Most people with Parkinson’s start to develop symptoms when they’re over 50, although some people with the condition first experience symptoms¬†when they’re under 40.

Find out more about the symptoms, causes and treatments of Parkinson’s.

How do I get a diagnosis?

No tests can conclusively show that you have Parkinson’s. Your GP will refer you to a consultant who will base a diagnosis on your symptoms, medical history and the results of some simple exercises.

Read more about diagnosing Parkinson’s.

What we do

Your neurologist and Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist will help you to monitor your symptoms and adjust your medication.

Our team of physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and dietitians can help you to maximise your abilities if/when you need them.

After your diagnosis, we’ll tell you about a future appointment from the Parkinson‚Äôs Nurse Specialist. This will assess your individual needs and refer you to other services if needed.

The Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist will also signpost you to a range of exercise groups, gyms and support groups.

Parkinson’s therapy and support services

 

Our specialist therapy service is for people with Parkinson’s and other neurological diagnoses. The team can help you manage your condition as it progresses.

The service is based at Amersham Hospital on the ground floor in the Drake Unit.

You’ll have access to a range of healthcare professionals and therapists working alongside your specialist Parkinson’s nurse including dietitians, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists who offer:

  • holistic assessment and rehabilitation tailored to your specific needs and goals
  • supported access to a specialist physiotherapy gym, advice and education
  • one-to-one and group rehabilitation with an emphasis on self-management

Referrals to this service need to be made by a healthcare professional. Please ask your GP or Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse to refer you to this team using the therapy rehabilitation service referral form .

 

You may have problems communicating and swallowing.

We accept referrals at any stage of Parkinson’s. You can refer yourself for an assessment or, you can ask your GP or Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse to refer you.

You’ll have an initial assessment appointment. We’ll then offer therapy depending on your individual needs.

Find out more about speech and language therapy.

Our occupational therapy team will help you manage every day tasks and help you to retain as much independence as possible and enhance your quality of life.

Find out more about our occupational therapy service.

 

You may have problems with movement and mobility because of Parkinson’s. Our physiotherapists will assess how it affects your movement, and help you maintain good posture and balance as your condition progresses.

They’ll also help you keep up or increase fitness levels, reduce pain and manage your symptoms.

Find out more about physiotherapy for your condition.

 

 

You may have nutritional needs, for example long term weight loss as a result of Parkinson’s.

Our community dietitians will help you if you have problems eating and maintaining a healthy weight.

You’ll need a referral from your GP or a registered healthcare professional.

Find out more about our community dietitians

 

Our team can help you retain your independence and your personal, family, work, leisure and social activities, whilst managing your condition.

Support includes person-centred rehabilitation programmes, patient support groups and rehabilitation at home.

Find out more about our community neurorehabilitation service.

How can I look after myself?

There’s several things you can do to help live with Parkinson’s, manage your symptoms and get support if you need it.

It’s important to do what you can to stay physically and mentally healthy.

Find out more about living with Parkinson’s.

Physical exercise

Research has shown that regular, moderate to vigorous physical activity can help relieve some of the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s, as well as improving overall mental and physical wellbeing.

The physical benefits of being active can include:

  • better muscle and bone strength
  • improved flexibility and joint mobility
  • improved balance and a reduced risk of falls
  • higher energy levels and better sleep
  • lower stress levels and lower blood pressure
  • reduced risk of developing other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoarthritis, dementia and some cancers.

Being physically active can also bring benefits to mental wellbeing, including:

  • improved confidence and self-esteem, especially from the social benefit of being active with others
  • improved cognitive ability, helping your brain work more efficiently, so you can learn and remember more
  • reduction in anxiety and depression, and increased happiness, especially if you can be active outdoors.

Learn more about the importance of physical activity and Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s and anxiety

It’s common to experience anxiety or depression if you’re facing a Parkinson’s diagnosis. But anxiety can be a clinical symptom of Parkinson’s, like rigidity or a tremor.

With the right support and treatment you can manage your symptoms effectively.

Find out more about Parkinson’s and anxiety

Parkinson’s and diet

Making simple changes to your eating and drinking habits can help you manage your symptoms more effectively.

Find out more about diet issues and Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s and sleep

You may have disrupted sleep for various reasons.

Find out more about how to sleep well with Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s advisors

Talk to Parkinson’s advisors in Buckinghamshire.

Advice and support groups

Amersham and Wycombe branch of Parkinson’s UK
Find out more or call 0300 030 4667

Aylesbury branch of Parkinson’s UK
Find out more

Chinnor ‚Äď Live well social group
Call Mandy French 07701 099458 or email mandyfrench@talktalk.net

Parkinson’s cafés
These are monthly, informal gatherings, in a coffee shop, for anyone affected by Parkinson’s.

Chilterns Neuro Centre
A local charity based in Wendover which supports people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s and stroke survivors.
Call 01296 696133 or email info@chilternsneurocentre.org

First Steps
A 2-day course run by Parkinson’s UK for newly diagnosed people to meet and discuss their diagnosis with others.
Call 02079 639381 or email firststeps@parkinsons.org.uk

Healthy Minds Bucks
For advice on managing anxiety, depression and stress.
Call 01865 901600 or visit their website

Parkinson’s UK

Parkinson’s UK  is a national charity that offers free, confidential information and support.

Call the Parkinson’s UK help and advice line on 0808 800 0303.

The charity has a specific web page for those who have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It features a practical ‘to do list’ that includes actions such as informing the DVLA and your insurance company.

Patient information leaflets and advice sheets

Contact us

Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist (North Buckinghamshire)
Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist (South Buckinghamshire)
Amersham Hospital Speech and Language Therapy Team
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Speech and Language Therapy Team
Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist (North Buckinghamshire)

Christine Parker
07867 557806
christine.parker7@nhs.net

Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist (South Buckinghamshire)

Amy Richards
07866 173684
amy.richards11@nhs.net

Amersham Hospital Speech and Language Therapy Team

01494 734415

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Speech and Language Therapy Team

01296 315247