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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurol. | doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00182

Patient Companionship in a Movement Disorders Clinic: Outside Assistance Inside the Office

  • 1Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Yale University, United States

Objective: We (1) report whether a companion (i.e., spouse, relative, aide) accompanied our consecutive outpatients with a range of movement disorders, (2) identified the set of patient characteristics that was associated with the need for a visit companion, and (3) characterized the role(s) of these companions during the visit. Our overarching goals were to further understand patient needs and the extent of their support networks, and to enrich the clinician-patient interface.

Methods: Two-hundred consecutive patients were enrolled from the Movement Disorders Clinic at Yale School of Medicine. We noted whether patients were accompanied by another person during the visit and documented the role of the visit companion during the encounter.

Results: One-hundred-twenty-eight of 200 patients (64.0%) brought a companion, with these being spouses (44.8%), adult children (24.1%) or an aide, nurse or social worker (14.5%). Patients who were unemployed (odds ratio [OR] = 5.32, p = 0.019), had a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease or other parkinsonian syndromes (OR = 10.61, p = 0.001), or were dependent in any instrumental activities of daily living (OR = 4.99, p = 0.005) or basic activities of daily living (OR = 5.81, p = 0.02), had increased odds of presenting to the clinical visit with a visit companion. Visit companions’ main roles involved communication (86.7%) and transportation (84.4%).

Conclusion: Visit companions were commonly present during movement disorders outpatient visits–two-thirds of patients were accompanied. A number of factors increased the odds of requiring such a companion by four- or five-fold.

Keywords: Movement Disorders, Visit companions, caregiver, Parkinson’s disease, Essential Tremor

Received: 27 Sep 2018; Accepted: 13 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Huifang Shang, Sichuan University, China

Reviewed by:

Giovanni Pellegrino, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Canada
Richard B. Reilly, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Athanasios Alexiou, Novel Global Community Educational Foundation (NGCEF), Hebersham, Australia  

Copyright: © 2019 Vives-Rodriguez, Trujillo-Diaz and Louis. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Elan D. Louis, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, United States, elan.louis@yale.edu