I’m delighted to share the recent publication of new international aquatic therapy guidelines for Parkinson’s disease – a world-first in achieving international consensus on the evidence-based application of aquatic therapy in the treatment of the illness.
Aquatic therapy involves water immersion as an exercise and rehabilitation medium to improve the physical capacity and psychosocial wellbeing of those living with Parkinson’s disease. Positive effects include reduced disability with improved mobility and balance in those with mild to moderate illness.
The guidelines are based on robust research evidence, the opinions of people living with the illness, and on practice-based expertise stemming from international expert consensus. The inclusion of a panel of patient stakeholders in the research process gave added strength and depth to the aquatic therapy practice guidelines by ensuring that the new guidelines could be tailored to individual patient abilities and needs.
Another key strength of this research was the development of guidelines based on evidence-based practice, which is often missing from clinical practice settings. This is because healthcare professionals often have limited time to review all the available literature and work within the ideals of evidence-based practice.
In another innovation, the guidelines were published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease as a two-page guideline infographic specifically designed for easy dissemination via social media platforms.
This infographic provides internationally agreed practical, systematic guide to clinicians in implementing an effective therapy programme tailored to individual patient needs.
Notes & References
 Carroll, L.M., Morris, M.E., O’Connor, W.T., Volpe, D., Salsberg, J., and Clifford, A.M. (2021) ‘Evidence-based aquatic therapy guidelines for Parkinson’s disease: an international consensus study,’ Journal of Parkinson’s disease, 12, 621-637, available: doi.org/10.3233/JPD-212881
 Carroll, L.M., Morris, M.E., O’Connor, W.T. and Clifford, A.M. (2021) ‘Community Aquatic Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease: An International Qualitative Study’, Disability and Rehabilitation, available: doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2021.1906959.
 Carroll, L.M., Morris, M.E., O’Connor, W.T. and Clifford, A.M. (2020) ‘Is aquatic therapy optimally prescribed for Parkinson’s disease? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis’, Journal of Parkinson’s disease, 10(2), 59-76, available: doi.org/10.3233/JPD-191784