What is Huntington's Disease?
Huntington's Disease is a hereditary and deteriorating condition of the central nervous system. The condition has a wide range of physical, emotional and cognitive symptoms which the medical and therapy team can help to control.
What are the common difficulties associated with Huntington's Disease?
Huntington's Disease can present many challenges to an individual's ability to undertake their daily activities. Some of these challenges include:
- Difficulty with memory and recall of recent events
- Challenges with planning and organisation of activities and time
- Loss of concentration and focus
- Quick to become angry or irritable
- Reduced motivation and drive
- Clumsy and uncoordinated
- Easily fatigued
- Uncontrolled movements of the hands, arms, legs or head leading to difficulty walking or completing daily activities.
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help people overcome common difficulties associated with Huntington’s Disease, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page
How can an occupational therapist help with the challenges that Huntington's Disease can cause?
Occupational therapists work with clients with Huntington's disease and their families to support them in remaining as independent as possible for as long as possible, and to provide solutions to challenges that the condition presents as it progresses. The process of occupational therapy intervention for clients with Huntington's Disease is led by them and their family, focusing on their goals and priorities for everyday life.
Below are some of the ways that an occupational therapist can help clients with Huntington's Disease:
- Providing advice on new techniques to continue to complete everyday activities such as dressing and meal preparation as the condition advances
- Support with sourcing the right equipment to help with difficulties as they arise, this might be the correct wheelchair, comfy chair or simple jar openers
- Making longer term recommendations to ensure your home will meet current and future needs. This will include considering adaptations such as wet rooms or through-floor lifts
- Working with a client and / or their employer to advise on ways to remain at work for as long as possible. This may involve pacing strategies to maximise energy or work place environmental changes
- Helping manage fatigue by identifying priorities for the day’s energy, whether that be getting the children to bed or maintaining their work role, and then planning how to conserve energy levels for this
- Offering practical strategies and techniques to manage a reducing memory such as fixed routines and prompts
- Ensuring the correct seating and wheelchair are provided to maximise function and independence