About Parkinson's Disease

Occupational Therapy for Parkinson's Disease


Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects movement. It develops gradually and affects motor functions (i.e. slow movement, rigidity, tremor, and unstable posture) and cognitive abilities (memory problems), as well as other body functions including communication, sleep, incontinence, vision and speech, fatigue, and perception.


The main aim of the Occupational Therapist is to improve and/or maintain independence in personal and instrumental activities of daily living, i.e. grooming, feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, cooking, house-keeping, shopping and leisure. The Occupational Therapists can help you to improve your pre-requisite skills including fine and gross motor skills, balance, posture, endurance, strength, co-ordination, and managing tremor and rigidity.


Emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, irritability, lack of motivation, and mood swings can also develop, whereby the main scope would be to provide continued support and to involve in meaningful occupations. When cognitive skills are affected, depending on severity, Occupational Therapists can formulate a treatment plan accordingly.


Occupational Therapists can also teach you various techniques and advise you on a wide range of aids available to maintain your independence. Home visits are carried out by the Occupational Therapist to assess the home and/or work environment. This will help in giving individualised advice and in making sure the surroundings are both safe and welcoming for individual needs. Instrumental home visits are also carried out to assess how the client manages daily tasks so that corresponding advice will be given.  


In Malta, such services are provided as both in-patients and out-patients. At Karin Grech Hospital, at the Day Hospital, a Parkinson’s Class is organised on a yearly basis. The Occupational Therapist works closely with the family of the individual living with Parkinson’s Disease. The intervention is preferably done within a team approach so as to be as holistic as possible. For more information, you may contact the Occupational Department on Day Hospital (Karin Grech Hospital) on 00356 22082011, and the out-patients department (St Luke’s Hospital) on 00356 22081624.


Acknowledgement: Malta Association of Occupational Therapists




  • Aragon., A., & Kings, J. (2010). Occupational Therapy for People with Parkinson’s. Best Practice Guidelines (College of Occupational Therapists)
  • The American Occupational Therapy website – www.aota.org
  • Wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org



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