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1.  Health-related quality of life and strain in caregivers of Australians with Parkinson’s disease: An observational study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:57.
Background
The relationship between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers is little understood and any effects on caregiver strain remain unclear. This paper examines these relationships in an Australian sample.
Methods
Using the generic EuroQol (EQ-5D) and disease-specific Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 Item (PDQ-39), HRQoL was evaluated in a sample of 97 people with PD and their caregivers. Caregiver strain was assessed using the Modified Caregiver Strain Index. Associations were evaluated between: (i) caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL; (ii) caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain, and; (iii) between caregiver strain and care-recipient HRQoL.
Results
No statistically significant relationships were found between caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL, or between caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain. Although this Australian sample of caregivers experienced relatively good HRQoL and moderately low strain, a significant correlation was found between HRQoL of people with PD and caregiver strain (rho 0.43, p < .001).
Conclusion
Poor HRQoL in people with PD is associated with higher strain in caregivers. Therapy interventions may target problems reported as most troublesome by people with PD, with potential to reduce strain on the caregiver.
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-57
PMCID: PMC3434109  PMID: 22804846
2.  Protocol for a home-based integrated physical therapy program to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:54.
Background
The high incidence of falls associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) increases the risk of injuries and immobility and compromises quality of life. Although falls education and strengthening programs have shown some benefit in healthy older people, the ability of physical therapy interventions in home settings to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s has not been convincingly demonstrated.
Methods/design
180 community living people with PD will be randomly allocated to receive either a home-based integrated rehabilitation program (progressive resistance strength training, movement strategy training and falls education) or a home-based life skills program (control intervention). Both programs comprise one hour of treatment and one hour of structured homework per week over six weeks of home therapy. Blinded assessments occurring before therapy commences, the week after completion of therapy and 12 months following intervention will establish both the immediate and long-term benefits of home-based rehabilitation. The number of falls, number of repeat falls, falls rate and time to first fall will be the primary measures used to quantify outcome. The economic costs associated with injurious falls, and the costs of running the integrated rehabilitation program from a health system perspective will be established. The effects of intervention on motor and global disability and on quality of life will also be examined.
Discussion
This study will provide new evidence on the outcomes and cost effectiveness of home-based movement rehabilitation programs for people living with PD.
Trial registration
The trial is registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000390381).
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-54
PMCID: PMC3436761  PMID: 22799601
Parkinson’s disease; Accidental falls; Randomized controlled trial; Falls prevention
3.  Feasibility, Safety, and Compliance in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Physical Therapy for Parkinson's Disease 
Parkinson's Disease  2011;2012:795294.
Both efficacy and clinical feasibility deserve consideration in translation of research outcomes. This study evaluated the feasibility of rehabilitation programs within the context of a large randomized controlled trial of physical therapy. Ambulant participants with Parkinson's disease (PD) (n = 210) were randomized into three groups: (1) progressive strength training (PST); (2) movement strategy training (MST); or (3) control (“life skills”). PST and MST included fall prevention education. Feasibility was evaluated in terms of safety, retention, adherence, and compliance measures. Time to first fall during the intervention phase did not differ across groups, and adverse effects were minimal. Retention was high; only eight participants withdrew during or after the intervention phase. Strong adherence (attendance >80%) did not differ between groups (P = .435). Compliance in the therapy groups was high. All three programs proved feasible, suggesting they may be safely implemented for people with PD in community-based clinical practice.
doi:10.1155/2012/795294
PMCID: PMC3236432  PMID: 22191076
4.  Falls and mobility in Parkinson's disease: protocol for a randomised controlled clinical trial 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:93.
Background
Although physical therapy and falls prevention education are argued to reduce falls and disability in people with idiopathic Parkinson's disease, this has not yet been confirmed with a large scale randomised controlled clinical trial. The study will investigate the effects on falls, mobility and quality of life of (i) movement strategy training combined with falls prevention education, (ii) progressive resistance strength training combined with falls prevention education, (iii) a generic life-skills social program (control group).
Methods/Design
People with idiopathic Parkinson's disease who live at home will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of three groups. Each person shall receive therapy in an out-patient setting in groups of 3-4. Each group shall be scheduled to meet once per week for 2 hours for 8 consecutive weeks. All participants will also have a structured 2 hour home practice program for each week during the 8 week intervention phase. Assessments will occur before therapy, after the 8 week therapy program, and at 3 and 12 months after the intervention. A falls calendar will be kept by each participant for 12 months after outpatient therapy.
Consistent with the recommendations of the Prevention of Falls Network Europe group, three falls variables will be used as the primary outcome measures: the number of fallers, the number of multiple fallers and the falls rate. In addition to quantifying falls, we shall measure mobility, activity limitations and quality of life as secondary outcomes.
Discussion
This study has the potential to determine whether outpatient movement strategy training combined with falls prevention education or progressive resistance strength training combined with falls prevention education are effective for reducing falls and improving mobility and life quality in people with Parkinson's disease who live at home.
Trial registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12606000344594
doi:10.1186/1471-2377-11-93
PMCID: PMC3160881  PMID: 21801451
5.  Cost effectiveness of preventing falls and improving mobility in people with Parkinson disease: protocol for an economic evaluation alongside a clinical trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2008;8:23.
Background
Cost of illness studies show that Parkinson disease (PD) is costly for individuals, the healthcare system and society. The costs of PD include both direct and indirect costs associated with falls and related injuries.
Methods
This protocol describes a prospective economic analysis conducted alongside a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It evaluates whether physical therapy is more cost effective than usual care from the perspective of the health care system. Cost effectiveness will be evaluated using a three-way comparison of the cost per fall averted and the cost per quality adjusted life year saved across two physical therapy interventions and a control group.
Conclusion
This study has the potential to determine whether targetted physical therapy as an adjunct to standard care can be cost effective in reducing falls in people with PD.
Trial Registration
No: ACTRN12606000344594
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-8-23
PMCID: PMC2573876  PMID: 18823565

Results 1-5 (5)