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Background: Persons with Parkinson’s (PwPD) seek to age in place and slow the functional decline that comes with the disease process. Membership in community-based and fitness programs provides a social safe environment that significantly impacts an individual’s psychological well-being and occupational independence. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) supports and promotes partnering with community organizations that promote and valuemaintaining occupational independence for community dwellers.
Objective: This study investigated the perceived benefits of belonging to a community organization that supports health management and well-being for PwPD.
Methods: A qualitative ethnographic study used immersive participant observation, and conducted two focus groups of PwPD (n=4), and caregivers (CG) (n=3) respectively. Inclusion criteria were participation in fitness classes hosted by a community organization 2x/wk for the PwD group and attendance in the support group for the CG group. Data included a field journal and focus group discussions. Data analysis using open line coding, memo-ing, and data fracturing to explore emerging themes. Dedoose Version 9.0.17 (2021) was used to code and analyze data
Results: Themes that emerged from the transcribed data include community organizations being a safe haven, providing support for strategizing, coping, and wellbeing, preventing exacerbation of symptoms, and being a bridge to community living.
Conclusion: The themes indicate PwPD and CG perceived benefits, including symptom maintenance, health management, and overall quality of life (QOL).
University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences
Medical Subject Headings
Parkinson's Disease, Community health, Caregiver, Independent living, Health resources
Community Health | Occupational Therapy
Fortes, A., Smith, M. A., Aranha, K., & Cabrera, K. (2023, August 9). The Perceived Benefits of Belonging to a Community Organization for People with Parkinson's Disease (PwPD): An Ethnographic study. Poster presented at the Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium, University of St Augustine for Health Sciences. Retrieved from https://soar.usa.edu/otdcapstonessummer2023/13