Parkinson’s disease is a chronically not curable progressive disease that leads to different degrees of disability. Controlled studies on how patient education influences subjective health in Parkinson’s disease are lacking.
The aim of this study was to examine the influence patient education had on drug requirements and on subjective health status of persons with Parkinson’s disease.
A short form of Health Survey, SF-12, was used to measure perceived health. SF-12 was administered before and one month after patient education (intervention group; n= 48), and in waiting list control (n= 48). The control group was measured two times with similar intervals as the intervention group but without education between. Demographic data and daily antiparkinsonian drug requirements were collected from the patients’ medical records.
No group differences were detected regarding physical and mental health. Individual items showed significant differences in social capacity and fatigue between the intervention group compared to control group at the first measure time. There was a significant increase in daily antiparkinsonian drug requirements in the control group, but not in the intervention group, between the first and the second measurement.
No positive effects of patient education to persons with Parkinson’s disease were detected. However, the drug requirements increased among those in the control group while it was stable among those in the intervention group. This may have been due to insufficient responsiveness of the outcome measure and that increase of antiparkinsonian drugs in the control group masked potential intervention effects. It might be that a measure of coping or empowerment is more suitable to detect positive outcomes of this type of intervention.
Keywords: Parkinson’s disease, education, L-Dopa, health status, SF-12.
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