The role of nursing in the rehabilitation of people with movement disorders

Allison Fiona Williams, Siok Bee Tan, Victor McConvey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingForeword / PostscriptOtherpeer-review


This chapter explores the role of nursing in the management of people with movement disorders, with a focus on adults with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, multiple systems atrophy, progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal syndrome, and dystonia. People with movement disorders can benefit from a coordinated approach to care from a broad range of health professionals. For the person living with a movement disorder and their care-givers, proactive, long-lasting, and high-quality care has the potential to optimize quality of life and healthcare outcomes. The movement-disorder nurse plays an important and very specialized role that is fully integrated into the multidisciplinary healthcare team, working in partnership with the person and their family to achieve mutually established goals. Movement-disorder nurses are usually very experienced and recognize that the nursing role is very targeted and adapted to the specific needs of people with these chronic and often progressive neurological conditions. Broadly speaking, movement-disorder nurses have particular expertise in the rehabilitation domain. Rehabilitation nursing can be defined as “the diagnosis and treatment of human responses of individuals and groups to actual and potential problems related to functional ability and lifestyle” [1]. The main goals of rehabilitation nursing are to promote independence and self-determination, to enable the highest level of mobility, movement, and function, as well as to minimize disability and to promote healthy lifestyle choices [2, 3]. It can be argued that this broad definition does not necessarily capture the unique role of the movement-disorder nurse, where highly attuned skills and an in-depth knowledge of the pathophysiology of movement disorders is required. This includes expertise in such things as the time course of progression and fluctuations over time, the particular medications used and their administration and management, team roles, movement-strategy training, motor-skill learning, how to optimize physical activity and prevent falls, care-giver support and, for some people, end-stage palliative care.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRehabilitation in Movement Disorders
EditorsR Iansek, M E Morris
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781139012942
ISBN (Print)9781107014008
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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