Choosing a Doctor
It is not unusual for people with young onset Parkinson's disease to have seen many doctors in the months or years prior to diagnosis in an attempt to understand what seem like unexplainable symptoms. Most people are eventually referred to a neurologist either to determine or confirm a diagnosis or for ongoing treatment. That neurologist will likely be one that is "in-network" and meets your insurance coverage requirements. While many of us are bound to operating within our healthcare plan, choosing a doctor to treat your Parkinson's is your decision and one you should consider carefully.
Movement Disorders Specialists
Doctors who are specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the brain and nervous system are called neurologists. Some neurologists have a subspecialty in movement disorders and work extensively with patients who have Parkinson's disease and other similar conditions. These doctors typically have more experience dealing with early onset Parkinson’s disease than a general practitioner or general neurologist.
Ultimately, the doctor you choose to treat your PD should be someone with whom you can develop a good partnership. Even the best medical professionals cannot help you unless they are able to make the time to really listen to you and to fully understand and address your questions and concerns. You may consider asking yourself:
- Do I feel I can be truly honest with this doctor?
- Does he or she seem to take my questions and concerns seriously?
- Do I feel comfortable enough to ask questions about even the most uncomfortable of topics (such as sex and sexuality, bladder/bowel functioning, etc.)?
- Do I feel that this doctor has my best interest in mind?
If you answered "no," to any of these questions, you may want to continue your search for the right physician.
Ask family members or friends for referrals to qualified, competent healthcare professionals. Other people with PD are also an excellent resource, so ask around, and if you have had a good experience with a group of professionals or a particular facility, share that information with others. Keep in mind
- Hospitalization of a Parkinson's Patient (Supplement)
- When Should Parkinson's Disease Patients Go To The Emergency Room? (Supplement)
- Common Health Issues & Parkinson's: Understanding Symptoms and When to Take Action (Webcast)
Presented by Dr. Michael Rezak at the Young Onset Parkinson's Conference, Irvine, CA, 2012