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BACKGROUND: Speech impairment, which reduces Quality of Life (QOL), frequently occurs in individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD). As speaking is required for social interaction, speech impairment can reduce one’s life satisfaction. Although QOL has been well-studied in individuals with PD, the QOL of their caregivers has seldom been investigated. This study compared the QOL of individuals with PD and their caregivers. The relationships between QOL, self-rated speech scale, and life satisfaction level were examined.
METHOD: A total of 20 individuals with PD and their caregivers completed the Parkinson’s disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) scale and the Life Satisfaction Scale (LSS). In addition, PD participants were asked to complete the Self-Rated Speech Scale (SRSS) to rate their speech intelligibility.
RESULT: PD participants reported significantly lower QOL scores than their caregivers. However, there was no difference between the two groups on the social support and stigma dimensions, indicating that both groups reported similar levels of social support and stigma in their daily lives. A moderate significant correlation was observed between the LSS and PDQ-39 scores in the PD group, suggesting that life satisfaction could affect their QOL. Moreover, moderate correlation was found between the LSS and SRSS, showing that participants self-reported speech intelligibility has an impact on their life satisfaction.
CONCLUSION: In general, individuals with PD showed lower QOL than their caregivers. Given that the SRSS, LSS and QOL are moderately correlated, identifying patients’ perception on their speech intelligibility and life satisfaction could help clinicians to better understand their patients’ needs when delivering speech therapy services.