Everyday functioning of people with Parkinson’s disease and impairments in executive function: a qualitative investigation
Disability and Rehabilitation
Taylor & Francis
2017 (c) Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Reason for embargo
Purpose: Executive function is the key area of cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease. This study investigated how cognitive difficulties impact on everyday life of people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers, and whether they explicitly mention executive-type difficulties. Methods: Semistructured interviews with 11 people with Parkinson’s disease and six carers were analyzed thematically. People with Parkinson’s disease performed within the normal range on cognitive screening tests, but all had abnormal scores on tests of executive function. Results: Despite relatively mild executive deficits and no global cognitive impairment, participants described executive-type difficulties as well as a range of problems in other cognitive domains, such as memory, processing speed and apathy. Cognitive difficulties had a far-reaching impact on everyday life and their significance depended on personal circumstances, such as the level of responsibilities of the person with Parkinson’s disease and the extent of available support. Conclusions: By presenting subjective accounts of living with Parkinson’s disease and cognitive difficulties, this study improves our understanding of how the observed level of cognitive impairment translates into everyday functioning. The study results have implications for recognizing cognitive difficulties and for planning support for people with Parkinson’s disease and their families, and can help identify ways of promoting effective self-management. •Implications for rehabilitation •Treatment of Parkinson’s disease tends to focus on the movement disorder, meaning that cognitive difficulties and their impact can be overlooked. •Participants in this study had only relatively mild executive deficits but described a range of cognitive problems, including executive-type difficulties. •Cognitive difficulties have an emotional impact and can cause a range of challenges in everyday life, adding to the burden of physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. •Results of this study provide insights into how executive functions impairments translate into everyday difficulties in Parkinson’s disease and have implications for planning support for people with Parkinson’s disease and their families.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
Published online: 09 Jun 2017