Activity 27.2: Critical thinking

Parkinson’s disease is one of the neurological conditions discussed within this chapter. Think about how you would care for that patient and their relatives addressing the physical, psychological and social needs.

  • What could you as a nurse do to reassure the patient with a new diagnosis?
  • How do you think they may be feeling?


  • Balance problems – these can make someone with the condition more likely to have a fall and injure themselves
  • Loss of sense of smell (anosmia) – sometimes occurs several years before other symptoms develop
  • Nerve pain – can cause unpleasant sensations, such as burning, coldness or numbness
  • Problems with urination – such as having to get up frequently during the night to urinate or unintentionally passing urine (urinary incontinence)
  • Constipation
  • Sexual – an inability to obtain or sustain an erection (erectile dysfunction) in men difficulty becoming sexually aroused and achieving an orgasm (sexual dysfunction) in women
  • Dizziness, blurred vision or fainting when moving from a sitting or lying position to a standing one – caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) – this can lead to malnutrition and dehydration
  • Excessive production of saliva (drooling)
  • Problems sleeping (insomnia) – this can result in excessive sleepiness during the day


  • Mild cognitive impairment – slight memory problems and problems with activities that require planning and organisation
  • Dementia – a group of symptoms, including more severe memory problems, personality changes, seeing things that aren’t there (visual hallucinations) and believing things that aren’t true (delusions)


  • Regular exercise is particularly important in helping relieve muscle stiffness, improving the patients mood, and relieving stress such as more active sports like tennis and cycling, to less strenuous activities such as walking, gardening and yoga.
  • The patient should also try to eat a balanced diet containing all the food groups to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.


  • Being diagnosed with a long-term condition like Parkinson’s disease can put a strain on the patient, their family and friends. It can be difficult to talk to people about their condition, even if they’re close to the patient.
  • Dealing with the deterioration of symptoms, such as increasing difficulty with movement, may make the patient feel frustrated and depressed. Spouses, partners or carers will inevitably feel anxious or frustrated as well.
  • Encourage the patient to be open about how they feel, and let their family and friends know what they can do to help.