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Mind the Gap

A bridge between therapeutic health provision and independent self-management for people living with Parkinson’s, focusing on how dance holds the key. 

What we do

Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition characterised by impairments of movement, balance and non-motor deficits. It is estimated that caring for people with Parkinson’s across England costs the NHS more than £212 million a year, most of which is due to a loss of independence. Pavilion Dance South West has been providing Parkinson’s Dance classes since 2012. These are creatively led using the Parkinson’s Dance Science (PDS) model, co-founded by Neuro Physiotherapist Dr Sophia Hulbert and dance artist Aimee Hobbs. This fusion of physiotherapy, health and dance expertise creates a class which provides a creative and social space to spark imaginations, nurture expression and empower the body and mind  to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s. 

The gap between front-line health-service provision and social prescribing for long-term conditions has never been more pressing than in these times of NHS austerity. The PDS model has proven to ‘bridge this gap,’ with sound, evidence-based, physiological, psychological and social effect. Findings from preliminary research conducted through a collaboration between Pavilion Dance South West and the University of Southampton, using the PDS model across three Parkinson’s Dance classes, have shown promising results. Descriptive analysis suggests improvement in global physical symptoms and quality of life for dancers over time, with significant improvements found in wellbeing, stigma and discomfort. 

Initial analysis suggests that dance supports people with Parkinson’s to self-manage their condition and our hope is that we can continue to contribute in both a practical and research-led way to the growing dance and Parkinson’s provision across the UK.

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