Q&A

Are there any special considerations performing services on clients with Parkinson’s disease?

Q.

I have a client with Parkinson’s disease. Are there any special considerations or things I should avoid when performing manicures and pedicures on this client? Her one hand is significantly closed, but we manage.

A.

No special precautions need to be taken when giving a nail service to a Parkinson’s patient. In fact, hand/foot massage would likely be beneficial. Most persons with Parkinson’s can flex, but sometimes a client’s hand remains mostly closed. In this case, discuss whether it can be flexed at all. If the person can flex at times, it’s important to encourage that movement, and massaging the hand would be good. If it seems to be a contracture (inability to open the hand), then it's essential that movement not be forced as it could cause injury.

Also of note: certain times can be more difficult than others due to the variation in dexterity throughout the day. If you're working with a client who has extreme fluctuations throughout the day, referred to as “off” time (when things aren’t going well), and “on” time (when moving at their best), you may want to schedule appointments accordingly. — Ruth Hagestuen is field services director of the National Parkinson Foundation.

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