Long-term Care of Your Parkinson’s Patient

Sharon Yardley, RN Clinical
Coordinator, Vancouver Hospital
Movement Disorders Clinic

Susan Calne, RN
Coordinator Neurodegenerative
Disorders Centre

I work at the Neurodegenerative Disorder Centre at the University of British Columbia, where we currently care for more than 1,500 patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). I work with four neurologists, all of whom have subspecialty training in PD, and on a part-time basis I also have the help of one other nurse. My role as the clinic co-ordinator, is to provide counselling and education to new patients, and as their disease progresses, to continue counselling these patients on an outpatient basis. By providing the patients with knowledge and support, we seek to optimize their quality of life and their independence.1

The clinical co-ordinator focuses primarily on the patients, and provides them with information about PD, the emotional and employment issues that may arise during the course of the illness, and changes that will occur in their lifestyle. Another important function is to provide the patients with education about pharmaceutical treatment and monitoring services, and to support them as they begin antiparkinson therapy, documenting changes in their symptoms and any problems that occur between visits.