Introduction Published evidence suggests that dance may be of benefit to people with Parkinson’s disease. Following a suggestion from a service-user, our hospice set up a pilot dance programme for people with Parkinson’s disease comprising six fortnightly 1.5 hour dance classes over 12 weeks.
Aim To share our experience of setting up a hospice Parkinson’s dance programme and evaluate the impact on participants.
Methods Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire (PDQ-39), a validated quality of life measure for Parkinson’s disease was completed at baseline and 12 weeks. Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) captured the difficulty and importance of participants’ goals and the extent to which they were achieved. Mean PDQ-39 and GAS T-scores were compared using a paired sample t-test. Many participants volunteered qualitative feedback and gave permission for their (anonymised) quotes to be included in the evaluation.
Results Of the initial 10 participants, seven completed the evaluation (one died and two had prolonged hospital admissions). 6/7 participants had a positive change in their GAS T-scores. Mean change in GAS T-scores was 22.3 (p=0.01). The mean PDQ-39 Summary Index reduced between baseline and 12 weeks but this was not significant (p=0.541). Informal qualitative feedback was positive (e.g., ‘[I feel] terrific. Supported and less isolated. Mentally and physically better’).
Conclusions Although we did not demonstrate a significant improvement in quality of life of participants (possibly due to small sample size), they did appear to achieve their individual goals from the dance programme and informal feedback was positive. Our experience is that it is feasible to run a Parkinson’s dance programme in a hospice and it served as a gentle introduction to hospice services for some participants. Dance programmes for people with Parkinson’s disease may fit well with the idea of enabling people to live well until they die, a core part of palliative care.
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