Published work in OT News

Katie Skelton is a valued member of the Kent OT team where she carries out a range of OT assessments and treatment programmes. Many of our OTs work in other settings which means that they all have an impressive amount of experience as OTs.
Katie also works for The Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy in Canterbury. The range of Katie’s therapeutic skills highlights her talents as an occupational therapist and showcases the diversity and importance of the role of occupational therapy in supporting people. Our team were delighted to read her article in the September issue of OT News! Great OT work Katie!
THe article

The New Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy (PCIT), Canterbury

1 in 37 people live with Parkinson’s disease, a prevalence that is set to nearly double by 2065. Drug therapies can partly manage the motor symptoms which include tremor, muscle rigidity, freezing of gait, and slowness of movement. Other symptoms such as mood disturbance, fatigue, pain, cognitive impairment and bladder and bowel changes are harder to manage. Accordingly, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) point out that the multi-faceted nature of Parkinson’s disease requires a multi-faceted treatment approach that includes non-pharmacological therapies such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech & language therapy, and nutritional guidance. Although not mentioned in the current NICE guidelines, mental health therapy is also considered essential by the Neurological Alliance and NHS Long Term Plan.

Unfortunately, access to non-pharmacological therapies is often delayed and difficult to secure on an on-going basis. In the 2019 Parkinson’s UK audit of services available within Kent, less than 24% said that they can access occupational therapy (national average = 41%), 27% said that they can access physiotherapy (national average = 53%), and 24% said that they can access speech and language services (national average = 36%).

To address these shortcomings in non-pharmacological therapy, on 11th April 2023 (World
Parkinson’s day), we launched a community-based, clinical, research and educational centre, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. The centre, which we call, The Parkinson’s Centre for Integrated Therapy (PCIT), provides comprehensive, individualized access to evidence-based non-drug treatments to improve physical and mental well-being. Key therapies include occupational therapy, neuro-physiotherapy, group exercise, massage, hydrotherapy, psychotherapy, speech and language therapy, nutritional advice, and group singing. The Centre also hosts cutting-edge research to better understand and treat Parkinson’s, and to support continuous service improvement. Allied educational programmes are offered to train the next generation of healthcare practitioners and scientists in this integrated approach to non-drug intervention.

Within the Centre, the role of Occupational Therapy (OT) covers many areas and intervention is always person centered. We offer a friendly and welcoming service in a community-based setting and our aim is to help people navigate and manage their condition pro actively whatever stage in their journey with Parkinson’s. People self refer to the service, so motivation is high, and as an OT there is a relish to come alongside and use a coaching based approach to help to frame and set personal and meaningful goals. We also offer a ‘quick access’ service before members have been triaged in order to meet service need.

The centre focuses on living well with Parkinson’s and on delivering greater impact by fostering a multi-disciplinary environment. Our integration is key to streamlining goal achievement for our members. An example would be a member wanting to return to cycling as an activity they previously enjoyed. By working in combination with OT, physiotherapy and a personal trainer, the ability to access an adapted bike at a local cycle path with other Parkinson’s members (increasing their communication and social networking opportunities) can be attained. We are able to develop skills, provide information to maximize function, achieve personal goals and participate fully in daily lives to live well with Parkinson’s.

OT is helping to increase individual skill level by for example, providing ‘hands- on’ treatment aimed at body-level problems, such as practicing changing patterns of movement when moving from lying to sitting. Education on strategies, aids and adaptations is also a key component relevant to the symptoms and challenges of Parkinson’s, such as tremor management. We look at challenges in conjunction with our members and the impact on their daily lives, and design management strategies in order to increase confidence and participation in meaningful roles, such as socializing with friends, being able to manage beauty regimes or access clothing linked closely with personal identity.

As Parkinson’s affects a range of non motor areas, by helping to modify or re-frame daily activities we can assist members to make informed choices on roles and activities that are meaningful to them. Acceptance and adjustment are key components to living well with a chronic long term condition. One member described the fluctuations in their condition as an opportunity to take each day as it comes and to pro actively plan for rest and mindfulness within their daily routine. Carer support is also embraced within the centre as we understand how the condition affects the wider support network, and how vital the role of Carer can be in providing support.

We are about to create placement opportunities for Occupational Therapy trainees. We are also developing partnerships for accessibility and inclusion within the local community and are
developing ‘in house’ Events (such as accessible clothing and wellbeing events). There are exciting opportunities to partner with local services to offer education and training, to develop inclusive and accessible local services and to spread understanding of Parkinson’s to enrich quality of life for all involved in the care initiatives we are promoting.


We’d be happy to have a chat with you to discuss your requirements.
We will discuss your motivations and challenges and will design a tailored, individual programme to enable you to continue to do the things you want and need to do in your life.

Please feel free to call us on 03332225220  or use the contact page to send us a message.

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