People living with Parkinson’s disease in Northern NSW are set to benefit from the appointment of a specialist neurological nurse trained in the care and treatment of people with the neurodegenerative condition.
The appointment of a Parkinson’s nurse to support the Tweed, Byron and Ballina communities was today announced by Member for Tweed Geoff Provest and President of the Parkinson’s NSW Board David Veness. The position is being funded by Northern NSW Local Health District in partnership with Parkinson’s NSW.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said specialised neurological nurses are proven to have many benefits for people living with Parkinson’s and their families.
“They provide evidence-based advice and advanced nursing services, and connect people with the support they require in their own community,” Mr Provest said.
“There is also evidence that this model of care helps to reduce the sense of isolation many people with Parkinson’s experience, along with the high rates of depression and anxiety associated with the disease.”
“Where communities have access to a specialist nurse, carers and family members also show significant improvements in their own well-being, with reduced levels of depression. Hospital stays can also be reduced through the intervention of a specialist nurse.”
President of the Parkinson’s NSW Board David Veness said the appointment will make a huge difference for the local Parkinson’s community, with studies showing that health outcomes are poorer for people living with Parkinson’s in regional areas compared to those in the city.
“The prevalence of Parkinson’s has been reported as higher in rural and remote areas, yet most of the specialist services for Parkinson’s are found in capital cities,” he said.
Parkinson’s NSW, in partnership with Local Health Districts in NSW currently funds neurological nurses in two regional areas – Coffs Harbour and Shoalhaven. The nurses play a key role in meeting the needs of people living with Parkinson’s by liaising between patients and specialists, educating aged care facilities, health care professionals, and pharmacists and administering advanced nursing practices.
They also provide support during hospital stays and help with referrals to complementary therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology.
Between mid 2012 and mid 2019 the Northern NSW Local Health District increased its workforce by an additional 843 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 22.4 percent including 115 more doctors, 280 more nurses and midwives, and 53 more allied health staff.
The 2019-20 budget for Northern NSW Local Health District is over $875 million, this is an increase of over $37 million on the 2018-19 budget.
About Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s is a progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous system. Nerve cell damage in the brain causes dopamine levels to drop, leading to the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s symptoms include tremors, slow movement, stiffness and loss of balance. Also fatigue, apathy, depression, disturbed sleep, loss of sense of smell, and issues with speech and swallowing. Symptoms can be managed with medication, exercise and other forms of therapy and support. However, as yet there is no cure.
About Parkinson’s NSW
Parkinson’s NSW is a for-purpose organisation striving to make life better for people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers.
It provides essential services such as counselling, Support Groups, an InfoLine supported by Registered Nurses, education, and fundraising for research. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of people affected by Parkinson’s, while advancing towards a cure.