Effectiveness of occupational therapy intervention for people with Parkinson’s disease: Systematic review

Ellana Welsby, Sonja Berrigan, Kate Laver

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Occupational therapists commonly provide intervention that promotes quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. Existing research supports the effects of multidisciplinary and motor intervention for people with Parkinson’s disease. However, few studies have identified the effectiveness of occupational therapy intervention alone. The aim of this review was to examine the efficacy of interventions provided by occupational therapists for people with Parkinson’s disease. Methods: A comprehensive database search of the literature was performed using Medline, EMBASE, PsycInfo and CINAHL between 2003 and January 2018. There were no restrictions on study design and studies with or without a control group were selected for review. Studies were included if intervention consisted of at least 50% of occupational therapy intervention for Parkinson’s disease. Two independent reviewers extracted and synthesised data from relevant articles. Results: In all, 10 studies representing data from 1343 people with Parkinson’s disease and 180 caregivers were included in this review. Occupational therapy interventions focussing on meaningful activities were shown to improve perceived occupational performance. Upper limb therapy programmes were shown to improve upper limb function in the short term though longer-term effects are unclear. Conclusion: Current research supports interventions which are intermittent, short term and intensive, and involve tailored therapy plans working towards an individual’s goals. Occupational therapists should implement goal-oriented intervention programmes in conjunction with following the guidance of existing best practice guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-738
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2019


  • adult
  • occupational therapy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation


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