Parkinson’s disease (PD) is more than a movement disorder. While motor symptoms may be a prominent outward symptom of PD, mood and other emotional changes are also common- and not just for the person with PD. Their care partners may also experience such changes. Often, the best way to recognize these problems and figure out coping strategies may involve other health professionals in addition to a movement disorders physician, such as social workers or psychologists. Licensed Clinical Social Worker Jessica Shurer is the center coordinator of the Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where a team of health professionals is available to people with Parkinson’s. She discusses the emotional changes that may occur throughout the course of the disease along with suggestions for how people who are unable to travel to large medical centers may find help to address their emotional needs.
- Expert Care: Finding Allied Health Professionals
- Expert Briefing: Mental Health and PD (webinar)
- Living with Parkinson’s: Caregiver Resources
- Mood: A Mind Guide to Parkinson’s Disease (book)
For all of our Substantial Matters podcast episodes, visit parkinson.org/podcast.
About This Episode
Released: September 25, 2018
Jessica Shurer, MSW, LCSW
Jessica Shurer is the Center Coordinator and Clinical Social Worker of the Movement Disorders Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence and a CurePSP Center of Care. She graduated from Penn State University with a bachelor’s in psychology and minors in Human Development & Family Studies and Gerontology. She received her Master of Social Work from UNC Chapel Hill in 2012, where she also obtained a Certificate in Aging and was a participant in the Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education. In her current role, Ms. Shurer works as a team with the movement disorders specialists to address patient and care partner psychosocial needs, mood and coping, as well as offers short-term problem-solving counseling and connection to community resources. In addition, Ms. Shurer works to grow a referral network of Parkinson’s-specialized rehabilitation clinicians across the state, coordinates two specialty interdisciplinary clinics, one for Parkinson’s and one for atypical Parkinsonism disorders, facilitates both the Chapel Hill Parkinson’s support group and a PSP & CBD support group, and organizes educational programs for patients and care partners.