Disease-specific training in Parkinson's disease for care assistants: a comparison of interactive and self-study methods

Lesley Axelrod, Karen Bryan, Heather Gage*, Julie Kaye, Sharlene Ting, Peter Williams, Patrick Trend, Derick Wade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To compare two approaches to providing training to care assistants in Parkinson's disease.Pragmatic parallel arm controlled trial.Training either by an interactive training day at a local medical education establishment or self study.Care assistants recruited from local health and social care providers.The content of both interventions was similar, covering causes, symptoms, diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, multidisciplinary management, mobility, communication, swallowing, and involving 5 hours of study time.Knowledge about Parkinson's (assessed by true/false quizzes and identifying 'four facts' about Parkinson's) immediately post training and six weeks later; views on training methods of care assistants and employers/managers.Thirty-seven employers nominated 100 care staff who were allocated to interactive training (49) and self study (51). Training completion rates (retained to six-week follow-up) were lower for self study (42.1% vs. 83.7% training day). There were no significant differences between groups on quiz or 'four facts' scores at baseline or six-week follow-up. Immediately post training, the self-study group (with access to written materials) had significantly higher quiz scores than the training day group (no access to materials at test). Within-group comparisons showed improvements post training. Although interactive training may be preferred, obtaining release from duties can be problematic.Both approaches have similar effects on knowledge of care assistants without prior specific training. Providing a variety of approaches will cater for all preferences. The findings may be generalizable to training the care workforce for other specific roles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-557
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Parkinson's disease
  • controlled trial
  • training

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