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Princess Alexandra Hospital’s (PAH) first Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Navigator is helping patients manage the life-long disease.
This Parkinson's Awareness Week, Anna Nolan said more than 17,000 Queenslanders were living with Parkinson’s.
“There is currently no known cure, but there are many treatments available," she said.
“It’s a life-long journey and I’m here to make sure our patients don’t feel confused, lost or helpless.”
Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that results from damage to the nerve cells in a region of the brain that produces dopamine, a chemical that is vital for the smooth control of muscles and movement.
“Parkinson’s can be very disabling, people experience slowness of movements, stiffness, tremors, depression and other mental health concerns,” she said.
“It’s important that people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers are connected to the right support and care.”
Nurse Navigators are registered nurses who care for specific groups of patients with complex health conditions that require a high degree of comprehensive, clinical care.
Each week, Ms Nolan sees an average of 12-15 patients for ongoing review and management at the nurse-led PAH Movement Disorders Clinic.
“I’m also contactable on the PAH’s Movement Disorder Hotline and can provide advice about management of ongoing symptoms, medication side effects, sleep problems, psychiatric issues and cognitive issues,” she said.
“Often I’ll help people navigate through numerous specialty areas and help them avoid any unnecessary trips to hospital. But sometimes they just need someone to talk to.”
The average age of diagnosis is 65, however younger people can be diagnosed with Parkinson’s too. For more information on Parkinson’s disease, including support group information, visit: http://www.parkinsons-qld.org.au/