Do education programs affect the quality of life of people with Parkinson’s disease? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Miss Georgina Whish-Wilson1, Associate Professor Prue  Morgan1

1Department of Physiotherapy, School of Primary Health Care, Monash University, Frankston, Australia


Aim: To systematically review the efficacy of disease-specific education programs in improving the quality of life (QOL) of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Method: A systematic literature search was performed in electronic databases Ovid Medline, Scopus, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and AMED (from inception to August 2018). Both randomised and non-randomised controlled trials were eligible for inclusion. Methodological quality of studies was assessed using the PEDro scale. Continuous data on QOL outcomes was pooled in meta-analysis where possible.

Results: The search strategy produced a final yield of six studies with a total of 490 participants. All studies investigated standardised education programs provided in an out-patient setting by multidisciplinary health professionals. Meta-analysis showed that education programs produced a small, significant improvement in the QOL of participants (SMD 0.35, 95% CI -0.55 to -0.16, p=0.0004, I2 = 6%).

Significance of the findings to allied health: The results of this review suggest that standardised, PD-specific education programs ran by multidisciplinary health professionals appear to improve the QOL of people with PD. Allied health professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dieticians and speech pathologists were key providers in all education programs included in this review. While no recommendations currently exist for the inclusion of disease-specific education programs in routine PD care, the results of this review suggest that allied health professionals should consider incorporating standardized education programs into PD treatment plans.


Georgina Whish-Wilson is a Bachelor of Physiotherapy Advanced – Research (Honours) Candidate from Monash University.

Associate Professor Prue Morgan is a Specialist Neurological Physiotherapist and the Head of Physiotherapy at Monash University.