Community Parkinson's Nurse Specialist
Gill Clark explains her role as a Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist with NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group, supporting patients registered with GP practices in Selby Town, South Hambleton and Ryedale PCN and Tadcaster and Selby Rural Primary Care Networks.
A community Parkinson’s nurse specialist is someone who will support your individual needs, bring your care closer to home and help to manage your degree of symptoms so that you can continue living your life.
They work as part of the Multi-disciplinary team, which includes Physiotherapists, Occupational therapists, Mental health teams, Speech and Language therapists, Psychologists, Dietitians, GP’s, Pharmacists, Social Services and Voluntary service
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Parkinson's disease is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years. The three main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are:
- involuntary shaking of particular parts of the body (tremor)
- slow movements
- tiff and inflexible muscles
A person with Parkinson's disease can also experience a wide range of other physical and psychological symptoms these include:
- depression and anxiety
- balance problems (this may increase the chances of a fall)
- loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
- problems sleeping (insomnia)
- memory problems
- Vascular dementia, Fronto-temporal Lobe dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies.
How can a Community Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist help me?
A nurse specialist will look at your own personal needs and liaise with your consultants and GP to signpost to other healthcare professionals which will benefit you. This could be Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and the mental health team, as well as social and voluntary support services such as Parkinson’s UK.
They also support you with coming to terms with a Parkinson's diagnosis and provide education and advice to not only patients, but their families, carers and health professionals involved with their care.
A large part of the role is helping you to manage your medication, so they get the best results and fewer side effects.
If you have Parkinson's and you're admitted to hospital, the nurse can contact the ward staff to make sure they understand your condition and the importance of you getting your Parkinson's medication on time.
How do I get access to see a Community Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist?
Referrals to the nurse specialist are usually through a GP, consultant, physiotherapist or other health professional involved with the patient's care. You must have a definite diagnosis of Parkinson's before you can be referred to a Parkinson's nurse.
Patients must be registered with a GP practice in South Hambleton and Ryedale Primary Care Network (PCN), Tadcaster and Rural Selby PCN or Selby Town Primary PCN to benefit from this service.
Where is a Community Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist based?
The nurse specialist works primarily from GP surgeries. However clinics for patients can be run:
In GP surgeries and local community hospitals.
In individuals own homes, if the person can't attend clinics.
Over the telephone or have dedicated times when people can call. This means people can get a quick response without a clinic appointment.
Will I need to see the Community Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist on a regular basis?
Everyone diagnosed with Parkinson's disease should have the opportunity to be seen every six months by either a consultant or the nurse specialist to discuss symptoms, care and support.
Resources to download
Feedback from patients and GPs
I felt things happened once you got involved - for the better
It’s so much easier being seen closer to home
Your letter came through the post and my husband asked if it was a cheque, but I said it was better than that it was letting us know we finally had a Parkinson’s Nurse
It’s nice to know that you are there – sometimes I just need to talk to someone
Thank you for listening
It’s good to have you on board, it takes some of the pressure from GPs
As a GP I find Parkinson’s drugs complex and appreciate your involvement
The patients and their families/carers find you a good support, thank you
Thank you for your prompt response and action with our patients