We’ve Got the Beat: Combining Occupational and Music Therapy to Maintain Independence in Patients with Parkinson's
Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with Parkinson’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder affecting mobility, muscle control, and vocal strength and stability. As there were limited opportunities for group programming for Parkinson’s patients in West Virginia, we began to provide free weekly sessions with Music Therapists (MT) and Occupational Therapists (OT). The three aims included maintaining upper extremity range of motion, improve clarity of consonant enunciation, and improve gait pattern.
o Design or methodology
MT and OT students collaborated to offer hour-long group therapy sessions to patients which include plan a mixture of physical, vocal, and cognitive activities to maintain or increase mobility, vocal strength and stability, and memory. Sessions include movement games, choreographed dances, instrument play, and stretching. The sessions included stretching accompanied by music and vocal warm-ups, activities for range of motion, breath control and enunciation activities. Music allow patients to work on movement and gait training as well as memory and call and response. Group activities allowed patients to interact and create relationships.
o Results (data, outcomes and evidence)
Over the course of the 10 sessions, both clients showed a positive outcome to the music therapy and occupational therapy services. The clients showed evidence of maintaining motor skills such as walking and moving of extremities such as arms and legs. Throughout the sessions the clients were able to complete the tasks at least 75% of the time with minimal accommodations and to accurately complete singing and breathing exercises at least 80% of the time.
Though interprofessional work between OT and MT isn’t common, it has proven effective and motivating. Consideration should be given to expanding these efforts.
o Reflections/lessons learned/implications
Working with others outside your area of expertise is a constant learning experience. Learning and adapting to each other’s style of treatment, planning, and execution lets you find a balance between the different approaches and how to let them mesh for the most effective experience for the client.