World First: Aquatic Therapy Guidelines for Parkinson’s Disease [Infographic]

International consensus on the evidence-based application of aquatic therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.

Inside The Brain

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I’m delighted to share the recent publication of new international aquatic therapy guidelines for Parkinson’s disease — a world-first in achieving international consensus on the evidence-based application of aquatic therapy in the treatment of the illness.

Aquatic therapy involves water immersion as an exercise and rehabilitation medium to improve the physical capacity and psychosocial wellbeing of those living with Parkinson’s disease. Positive effects include reduced disability with improved mobility and balance in those with mild to moderate illness.

In the absence of any existing internationally endorsed aquatic therapy guidelines, this research addressed an unmet need for an agreed, evidence-based, aquatic therapy practice guidelines by establishing an international consensus for optimal delivery, dosage, frequency, intensity, and content of aquatic therapy to strengthen clinical decision-making by healthcare practitioners in implementing safe, efficient, and effective aquatic therapy programmes.

Patient and public involvement in the research guidelines

The guidelines are based on robust research evidence, the opinions of people living with the illness, and on practice-based expertise stemming from international expert consensus. The inclusion of a panel of patient stakeholders in the research process gave added strength and depth to the aquatic therapy practice guidelines by ensuring that the new guidelines could be tailored to individual patient abilities and needs.

Overcoming covid-research challenges

This research was conducted between May 2020 and June 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Significant logistical challenges were overcome to move the research online — an innovation that facilitated the collection of evidence-based findings and allowed consensus with diverse range of clinical expertise across five continents.

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Inside The Brain

Professor Billy O'Connor. Neuroscientist. Medical Educator. University of Limerick Graduate Medical School