OT on Demand: A Systematic Review of Telehealth for Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease

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Primary Focus: Rehab, Disability and Participation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define telehealth and telerehabilitation and its emerging role in healthcare
  2. Discuss current literature regarding effectiveness of telehealth services that are within the scope of OT practice
  3. Describe how telehealth can influence quality of life in individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease
  4. Interpret the findings to develop clinical implications for OTs interested in using telehealth for individuals living with Parkinson’s Disease


Telehealth, “the application of evaluative, consultative, preventative, and therapeutic services delivered through telecommunication and information technologies” (AOTA, 2013, p. S69) is an emerging niche for health care delivery. Although telehealth is applicable to many populations, current literature indicates that individuals with Parksinson’s Disease (PD), a progressive neurological condition, benefit from this type of service. Dorsey & Willis (2013) state access to care is a concern for individuals with PD. In the United States, over 40% of individuals over 65 years old with PD do not consult with a neurologist and approximately 20% are likely to sustain a hip fracture (Willis, Schootman, Evanoff, Perlmutter, & Racette, 2011). Many different health professionals such as doctors, nurses, and therapists have successfully utilized this medium to provide care for patients with PD (George et al., 2012; Dorsey et al., 2013; Howell, Tripoliri, & Pring, 2009). Current proposed benefits of telehealth for these patients include increased health care access in remote areas, time and cost efficiency, and continuous monitoring of the chronic condition (AOTA, 2005; George et al., 2012).

This systematic review was conducted by reviewing literature from CINAHL, PubMed, OVID Medline, and Google Scholar. Articles included had to meet the criteria of being published in English between 2005-2016, telehealth implemented through videoconferencing and telephone, and participants who were adult human subjects with PD. The articles included implemented assessments or interventions in the scope of occupational therapy practice, or supported the use of telehealth for OT practice with the population. All articles were critiqued using Law & McDermid’s critical review form (2003). The results of the systematic review provide evidence on the benefits of telehealth and its impact on individuals with PD. Effectiveness of administering assessments, modes of telehealth and their feasibility, patient satisfaction, and overall patient symptom improvement are explored.

In this session, practitioners will define telehealth, explore current literature supporting the impact of telehealth services on individuals with PD, and interpret findings to develop clinical implications for occupational therapy. There is an opportunity for occupational therapy to contribute to the health and wellness of individuals with PD through this unique health care medium.


American Occupational Therapy Association. (2005). Telerehabilitation position paper. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59(6), 656-660. doi: 10.5014/ajot.59.6.656.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2013). Telehealth. American Journal of

Occupational Therapy, 67(6 Suppl), S69-S90.

Dorsey, E., & Willis, A. W. (2013). Caring for the majority. Movement Disorders, 28(3),


George, B. P., Scoglio, N. J., Reminick, J. I., Rajan, B., Beck, C. A., Seidmann, A., ... &

Dorsey, E. R. (2012). Telemedicine in leading US neurology departments. The Neurohospitalist, 2(4), 123-128.

Howell, S., Tripoliti, E., & Pring, T. (2009). Delivering the Lee Silverman Voice

Treatment (LSVT) by web camera: A feasibility study. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44(3), 287-300.

Law, M. & McDermid, J. (2003). Appendix M and N (pp 414-423). In Evidence-Based Rehabilitation. Thorofare, NJ: SLACK, Inc.

Willis, A. W., Schootman, M., Evanoff, B. A., Perlmutter, J. S., & Racette, B. A. (2011).

Neurologist care in Parkinson disease A utilization, outcomes, and survival study. Neurology, 77(9), 851-857.

Presentation: 36:49

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