2020 has been a challenging year for many of us but the Physical Disability Physiotherapy Service (PDPS) team, made up of nine part time physiotherapists, have reacted in a positive way developing their service for people with Parkinson’s disease by creating a great online service so that they can continue to provide excellent care.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition which can cause involuntary shaking of parts of the body also known as tremors, slower movements and stiff and inflexible muscles.

The PDPS team are a small specialist community-based service, providing physiotherapy for people with long-term neurological disabilities.

Before May, the team were running hall-based classes in Botley and Bicester which compromised of a circuit of high-level exercises helping support people with an early stage diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Scientific evidence has shown that physiotherapy can have huge beneficial effects at this stage of their diagnosis.

Jenny Page, PDPS Physiotherapist

Since May, due to COVID-19, the PDPS team switched to online classes and now run four groups every fortnight replacing the hall-based classes. They wanted to continue to provide the one to one feedback patients needed whilst running a safe, challenging and effective group online to multiple people.

Lesley Hoare, physiotherapist clinical lead has said: “There are challenges delivering an exercise class in the spare bedroom or the kitchen, but the team have embraced the change and just got on with it!

“We are getting excellent feedback from the patients and there is a significant saving in staff time. It really has been so successful, COVID was the push we needed!”

Focusing on the way people were able to book for these sessions was also important so a new webpage was created where they could ‘choose and book’ into their desired class.

With now over 40 patients accessing these groups they have been able to consider integrating more evening education sessions which is another effective long-term management in Parkinson’s disease.

The positive feedback continues to flow in.

The positive comments include praise such as: “The classes are helpful and fun. You feel you are taking action to improve mobility, balance and fitness, with cognitive tasks thrown in.”

Another patient said: “The classes are physically so helpful, and psychologically so sustaining; also, they are so fun!”

According to another one, the online classes are “excellent” and, “The variety of exercises keeps one engaged and active and the instruction is always clear and well targeted. I always come away feeling well in body and in mind.”

Find out more about the service https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/service_description/physiotherapy/