Podcast: How can you speak the same language as your healthcare professional?


Author: Roisin McCormackPublished: 8 October 2019

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In the fourth episode of our Parkinson’s podcast, physiotherapist Josefa Domingos and her patient with Parkinson’s, Idelta Oliveira, join us from Lisbon, Portugal.

In a heart-warming and informative conversation, they discuss how introducing a new Parkinson’s assessment tool into their appointments helped them communicate better, enhanced Idelta’s care – and brought them closer together

Idelta Oliveira, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 60, has been seeing physiotherapist, Josefa Domingos at her clinic in Lisbon, Portugal, for almost three years.

During that time, they’ve built an incredibly strong working relationship – one based on trust and communication. “We do everything together,” Idelta happily says, before Josefa jokes that she has to force her to go on holiday.

The pair’s connection is tangible in episode four of the Parkinson’s life podcast, as they shed light on how using the Parkinson’s Disease Composite Scale (PDCS) – a new free Parkinson’s rating scale – changed the way they communicate in their appointments and enhanced Idelta’s treatment.

“I couldn’t talk about some issues like anxiety and depression,” Idelta recalls, explaining how before Josefa introduced the PDCS into her treatment, she would often forget which symptoms to tell her doctor about due to the fluctuating nature of the condition.

Delta at trampoline class.

Idelta trampolining at BOUNCE, Lisbon.

Josefa reassures her that “it’s hard for people with Parkinson’s to quantify how they’ve been feeling,” adding that it’s easy to get “overwhelmed” during consultations.

But by using the objective scale, healthcare professionals are better able to monitor and quantify a patient’s motor and non-motor symptoms over a period of two weeks – freeing up time to discuss other issues.

“It gave me an overview of all the symptoms and really opened up the conversation between us,” Josefa explains.

“It was you who taught me to write a list and take it to the consultation. It’s very important” Idelta tells Josefa gratefully, before adding, in a moving moment, “you are very important to me”.

Members of a Parkinson's movement clinic boxing.

Josefa (centre) and Idelta (right) boxing at Rounds Academy boxing club, Lisbon.

Thanks to the rating scale, Idelta’s experience is being heard in a “common language” that all healthcare professionals understand. Asked by Josefa if the PDCS has helped her, Idelta sings the scale’s praises: “Of course it has!”, adding later that “all people with Parkinson’s should be aware of such assessments as these”.

Episode four of Parkinson’s Life podcast, “Parkinson’s assessment tools”, is available now on SoundCloudiTunes and YouTube. Please rate and review the episode to help others find us – and if you have feedback, or ideas for future episodes, do get in touch at editor@parkinsonslife.eu to share your thoughts.

Aimed at health professionals and currently being rolled out across Europe, Parkinson’s Disease Composite Scale (PDCS) is a new, free scale offering a comprehensive overview of motor symptoms, non-motor symptoms and therapy complications. Find out more about the PDCS here.

For more information on Parkinson’s and assessment tools please visit the Parkinson’s Europe website.

Read more:

Podcast: What’s it like managing your working life with Parkinson’s?

Podcast: What’s it like caring for someone with Parkinson’s?

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