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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 7 (1994), Issue 3-4, Pages 189-196

Contact with a Nurse Practitioner: A Short-Term Evaluation Study in Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia

M. Jahanshahi,1,2 R. G. Brown,2 C. Whitehouse,1 N. Quinn,1 and C. D. Marsden1,2

1Department of Clinical Neurology, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, UK
2Medical Research Council, Human Movement and Balance Unit, Queen Square, London, UK

Received 19 September 1994; Accepted 20 October 1994

Copyright © 1994 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Forty patients with Parkinson's disease and 24 patients with dystonia took part in a study aiming to assess the value of access to and contact with a nurse practitioner over a 6 month period. Patients in each group were randomly allocated to “intervention” or “control” groups, which were matched on important variables. All patients completed a set of questionnaires relating to psychosocial function at two time points separated by 6 months. In the intervening period, those allocated to the “intervention” group received two home visits and five telephone calls from the nurse practitioner. This contact was not provided to the “control” group. The nurse practitioner had a major impact on the provision of information and the facilitation of referral to other health-care agencies. The results of an independent assessment indicated that the patients in the “intervention” programme had found access to and contact with a nurse practitioner of great value. In contrast, the results of the questionnaire assessment did not reveal any statistically significant change in psychosocial functioning from the first to the second assessment for either the “intervention” or “control” groups. The lack of change in the questionnaire measures is discussed in terms of possible sampling bias and the duration of intervention and follow-up. Recommendations are made for future studies, and for the possible provision of clinical services.