Perceptions of aquatic physiotherapy and health-related quality of life among people with Parkinson’s disease

Aan Fleur Terrens, Sze Ee Soh, Prue Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Enablers for people with Parkinson's disease (PD) participating in aquatic physiotherapy have been identified, and exercise improves health-related quality of life (HRQoL) but it is unclear whether all enablers and barriers for aquatic physiotherapy specific to the PD population have been explored. Objective: To describe HRQoL in people with PD who have undertaken aquatic physiotherapy, and explore their perceptions and attitudes regarding the programme. Methods: Twenty-one participants who participated in a pilot trial on aquatic physiotherapy were included. Participants completed a survey regarding their experiences. The Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) and Personal Well-being Index-Adult (PWI) were used to quantify HRQoL, whilst focus groups were conducted to explore their perceptions and attitudes. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize HRQoL scores. Focus group data were analysed using the deductive coding method. Results: Most participants felt that the aquatic programme was worthwhile (n = 20/21, 95%). However, they had poor overall well-being (mean 41.6, SD 13.5) and HRQoL (mean 31.0, SD 13.2) as measured by the PWI and PDQ-39. Several barriers to aquatic therapy including safety when getting dressed, fatigue and transport were identified although many enablers were also identified, including an improvement in function, less falls and group socialization. Conclusions: Aquatic physiotherapy was well-accepted. Participants felt their function improved and felt safe in the water. HRQoL is lower in individuals with PD when compared to Australian norms; thus, interventions to optimize HRQoL need to be explored further. Patient or Public Contribution: Patients participated in the aquatic intervention, survey and focus groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-577
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • aquatic physiotherapy
  • hydrotherapy
  • Parkinson's disease
  • patient perspectives
  • quality of life

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