Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that progressively affect the victim's movements. Gradually, the victim loses control over their nervous system, beginning with a tremor in the hand and progressing until the patient is incapacitated by their inability to move. There are several types of equipment necessary for caring for a Parkinson's patient.
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In some cases, Parkinson's patients may undergo surgery, called deep brain stimulation (or DBS) to reduce fluctuations in their motor controls. It is a safe method for controlling Parkinson's and is flexible enough to be used with other methods. In DBS, a surgeon will insert an electrode on one side of the brain. If the patient is having difficulty with the right side of his body, the surgeon will place the electrode in the left part of the brain and vice versa. Many patients require electrodes on both sides of the brain.
An IPG device, or an impulse generator, is connected to the electrodes implanted in the brain during a DBS surgery. This device, similar to a pacemaker, allows patients to control the amount of electricity flowing to the electrodes, giving them greater control over their motor functions. The device is implanted into the skin over the collarbone and has a controller for the patient to give or take power from the device and check the battery life, which typically lasts three to five years.
Lift chairs are a common piece of medical equipment when caring for a Parkinson's patient. As the patient slowly loses control over his body, they are more likely to require assistance when sitting down or returning to a standing position. The lift chair allows greater freedom of movement by helping the patient stand on this own, reducing the need for constant care.
As the Parkinson's disease progresses through the body, many patients will begin to experience an inability to move freely. This necessitates the need for a wheelchair. It is best that you choose a wheelchair with a reclining back, in case the patient needs to relax or is experiencing high blood pressure. An electric wheelchair allows for greater autonomy, but it can be more difficult to get into a car unequipped with specialised equipment than a manual, folding wheelchair.
Another common piece of medical equipment in the homes of Parkinson's patients is a hospital bed. Similar (if not identical) to those used in hospital rooms, the bed is equipped with special features that allow the inhabitant greater ease of movement and lessens difficulty when getting out of bed. Understand how to use the bed in your home to the best of your ability for the greatest amount of safety for the victim of Parkinson's disease.
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- Mayo Clinic: Parkinson's Disease
- Monroe Oxygen: Parkinson's Disease
- National Parkinson's Foundation: Parkinson's Disease: Caring and Coping
- The Med Supply Guide: Lift Chairs
- National Parkinson's Foundation: Wheelchairs: How to Choose the Right One
- Food and Drug Administration: Practice Hospital Bed Safety; June 2011