NPF Programs to Improve Care

The mission of the National Parkinson Foundation is simple — to improve the lives of people with Parkinson's disease through research, education and outreach. The foundation works each day to fulfill this mission by:

  • Educating the Parkinson’s community about the entire spectrum of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Serving as a bridge between people with Parkinson’s and their healthcare providers, helping patients and families to get the best care possible.
  • Advancing knowledge of Parkinson’s disease through research.

Thanks to the contributions of our generous supporters over our long history, NPF continues to discover and fund promising research that transforms our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and provides hope for a better future. In the early 2000’s, NPF was the earliest national advocate for team care in Parkinson’s, requiring team-based care in our Center of Excellence  program.  Our belief in a holistic, comprehensive approach to Parkinson’s disease care has been adopted by the best Parkinson’s centers in the world and has inspired research to prove that this model really does improve the health and well-being of people who receive it.

Unique in the Parkinson’s community, NPF’s efforts in the past decade truly changed the care that every person with Parkinson’s seen by an expert receives for the better, driving the adoption of care practices that are now proven to improve outcomes.  Most people with Parkinson’s now have access to physical, occupational, and speech therapy and other allied professionals, thanks to our efforts, and, at NPF Centers of Excellence, your neurologist will meet with your other health professionals to tap their insight into your status.  This is changing care.

“My ability to care for my Parkinson’s patients is dramatically augmented and improved by the insights of the other health professionals on my truly patient-centered interdisciplinary team.  Therapists will often spend hours with patients at times between visits with me.  This team approach provides a continuity of care and breadth of understanding that a neurologist working alone just can’t even begin to provide.  I saw this as the future of Parkinson’s care when we first built our clinic over a decade ago, and we were naturally drawn to NPF and the practices that their centers championed.”
—Michael S. Okun, MD, NPF National Medical Director

We are currently working on the next big things in care.  Our goal is to optimize care — how can we take the best knowledge from every field and apply it to every patient who needs it?  We are currently considering:

  • Medical and surgical care — to ensure that patients are guided to the optimal medical and surgical therapies and get good advice and guidance on a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life and live healthier, longer lives.
  • Physical therapy — to improve motor symptoms and facilitate other benefits through physical therapy programs.
  • Occupational therapy — to help people maintain their independence, at home and work.
  • Speech therapy — to improve communication and address swallowing issues.
  • Counseling and psychological therapy — to support emotional and mental well being in depressed or anxious individuals.
  • Exercise programs — to improve independence and possibly change the course of the disease.
  • Nutrition programs — to understand the impact of what you eat on how you feel.
  • Caregiver training — to guide families in caring and coping.

Now more than ever, our cause is urgent — this year, approximately 60,000 people will be diagnosed in the United States, joining the one million people already living with the disease in the US and four to six million worldwide. NPF's research and education efforts are data-driven and results-oriented and focus on helping people with Parkinson’s disease and their families live healthier, active lives today.

Read more to learn how your support can advance knowledge and understanding of Parkinson's disease.