Citation Gibson G (2017) What can the treatment of Parkinson's disease learn from dementia care; applying a bio-psycho-social approach to Parkinson's disease. International Journal of Older People Nursing, 12 (4), Art. No.: e12159. https://doi.org/10.1111/opn.12159
Within contemporary medical practice, Parkinson's disease (PD) is treated using a biomedical, neurological approach, which although bringing numerous benefits can struggle to engage with how people with PD experience the disease. A bio-psycho-social approach has not yet been established in PD; however, bio-psycho-social approaches adopted within dementia care practice could bring significant benefit to PD care.
This paper summarises existing bio-psycho-social models of dementia care and explores how these models could also usefully be applied to care for PD. Specifically, this paper adapts the bio-psycho-social model for dementia developed by Spector and Orrell (2010), to suggest a bio-psycho-social model, which could be used to inform routine care in PD.
Drawing on the biopsychosocial model of Dementia put forward by Spector and Orrell (2010), this paper explores the application of a bio-psycho-social model of PD. This model conceptualises PD as a trajectory, in which several interrelated fixed and tractable factors influence both PD's symptomology and the various biological and psychosocial challenges individuals will face as their disease progresses. Using an individual case study, this paper then illustrates how such a model can assist clinicians in identifying suitable interventions for people living with PD.
This model concludes by discussing how a bio-psycho-social model could be used as a tool in PD's routine care. The model also encourages the development of a theoretical and practical framework for the future development of the role of the PD specialist nurse within routine practice.
Implications for practice
A biopsychosocial approach to Parkinson's Disease provides an opportunity to move towards a holistic model of care practice which addresses a wider range of factors affecting people living with PD. The paper puts forward a framework through which PD care practice can move towards a biopsychosocial perspective. PD specialist nurses are particularly well placed to adopt such a model within routine clinical practice, and should therefore be encouraged within PD services.