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International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
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Role of Movement Disorders Nurse Specialist

The Movement disorders (MD) Nurse Specialist has several key functions in the management of Parkinson’s disease (PD), MSA, PSP, Huntington’s disease, Dystonia, and other MD, as well as the care of patients undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation: 

  1. Provide advanced levels of nursing care. 
  2. Assist other nurses and health professionals in establishing and meeting the health goals of patients and families. 
  3. Integrate advanced knowledge in a holistic assessment. 
  4. Focus on the functional problems and behavior that require nursing interventions. 

The nurse provides direct patient care and support and plays a vital role in helping improve quality of life (QoL) by educating the patient on managing and controlling symptoms and offering support following diagnosis, including: 

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  • Ensuring that the patient and caregiver receive critical information. 
  • Identifying clinical problems, psychological issues, and social needs, providing advice, recommendations, and appropriate treatment options. 
  • Planning therapeutic interventions and evaluations. 
  • Providing counseling for physical problems, ADL difficulties, autonomic disturbances, and other motor and non-motor issues (constipation, urinary problems, dysphagia, falls, orthostatic hypotension and cognitive impairment, depression, hallucinations, or sleep disorders). 
  • Prescribing medical and consumable equipment and supplies. 
  • Discussing and explaining the medication in use.  Monitoring, advising and following up on adjustments in medications and side effects. 
  • Provide dietary advice to patients with fluctuating response to L-dopa. 
  • Identify coping and adjustment strategies, motivation, and support mechanisms. 
  • Empowering the patient and the family to identify and reach realistic goals throughout the course of the disease. 
  • Working closely with other multidisciplinary team members.      

One of the unique roles of the nurse is the coordination of services in cooperation with other healthcare team members. In addition, the nurse acts as a link between the patient, hospital, and community services to meet the needs of both patient and the carer. In many cases, the involvement and intervention of the nurse can prevent patient re-hospitalizations. 

The MD nurse manages issues throughout the course of the disease, from diagnosis to palliative care, by providing support and education and giving high-quality service that meets the needs and improves or maintains the QoL of patients and their families. 

Originally contributed by Orna Moore, RN, MA (2013); Maintained by the Health Professionals SIG.

Editor's Picks: Journal Articles

The Role of Parkinson Nurses for Personalizing Care in Parkinson's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Journal of Parkinson's Disease, 2022.
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A Guideline for Parkinson's Disease Nurse Specialists, with Recommendations for Clinical Practice.
Journal of Parkinson's Disease, 2017.
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Specialized Staff for the Care of People with Parkinson's Disease in Germany: An Overview.
Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2020.
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A Narrative Review of Specialist Parkinson’s Nurses: Evolution, Evidence and Expectation.
Geriatrics (Basel), 2022.
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MDS Groups 

Task Force on Palliative Care

The Task Force on Palliative Care is tasked with reviewing evidence, developing clinical guidelines to manage, and educating to raise awareness about the palliative and end of life treatment needs for people living with movement disorders.

View task force »




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