April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month — where we take the time to learn about the debilitating disease suffered by more than 200,000 Australians.
Parkinson’s Disease is a complex degenerative neurological condition that can affect anyone. It is the second most-common neurological condition and is the fastest-growing brain disease in the world.
Currently, there is no cure, and over 10 million people suffer from the condition worldwide.
Resthaven Clinical Nurse Workforce Development, Julie Tansing, is on a mission to promote the importance of education around Parkinson’s, not only for staff but also for clients and residents who are most affected by the disease.
Julie explains, ‘Parkinson’s is one of the most challenging diseases to manage due to its chronic and progressive nature, as well as its complicated symptoms specific to each person.’
‘Despite its prevalence around the world, there are limited symptom management options at present.’
‘Each person with Parkinson’s is unique and needs individualised care, and the role of the person’s carer is vital in managing the disease. A holistic approach, including a team of allied health professionals to manage it, is very beneficial.’
‘The first step is to understand the basic symptoms that can impact on the day-to-day life of the person with Parkinson’s,’ says Julie.
‘Common symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease can be categorised into motor and non-motor.’
‘Motor symptoms may include muscle rigidity, tremor, freezing, and postural instability.’
‘Non-motor symptoms such as pain, sensory and speech changes, fatigue, apathy, anxiety, depression, changes in the gastrointestinal system, and problems with memory, thinking, and sleep.’
‘As long as we educate carers, both unpaid and paid, we will see a positive shift in the quality of life in those with Parkinson’s.’
‘Support for carers is equally important, with flexible respite options to alleviate carer “burnout”.’
PDWarrior is hosting ‘Insight into Parkinson’s 2023’ — a three-day online global conference that is FREE for people to attend (days 1 & 2). Containing 25 presentations from Parkinson’s experts, covering medicine, research, care, health, and wellbeing, this annual event is not to be missed. Register here.