A Third of People With Parkinson’s Had Worse Symptoms During Lockdown

Dawn O'Shea

July 14, 2020

A third of people with Parkinson's have experienced increased symptoms during lockdown, according to a survey by Lancaster University and Parkinson’s UK.

The survey asked more than 2000 people with Parkinson’s and their family members, friends and carers about their experience of lockdown.

Responses showed that:

  • More than a third experienced either more slowness of movement or stiffness or fatigue;

  • More than a quarter experienced increased tremor or anxiety or sleep problems;

  • Around 10% also reported an increase in hallucinations;

  • Around a third said reduced access to exercise had a big effect on their lives;

  • Around a third had appointments with their Parkinson’s nurse or consultant cancelled;

  • More than half were not offered a phone or online appointment; and

  • Of those who received social care and support at home before lockdown, almost half received less care during restrictions.

While some people with Parkinson’s have chosen to shield, they are not classed as extremely vulnerable and are therefore not eligible for the increased level of support.

This survey found that as well as concerns about loneliness and isolation, people reported an increase in stress levels, particularly around access to food for those with advanced symptoms if there were no neighbours or family to help, and this stress exacerbated their physical symptoms.

The average mental health and well-being score of people with Parkinson’s responding to the survey was more than five points lower than the average score for the general population in non-lockdown times, with many saying they needed emotional support at this time.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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