Practical approach to quality of life in Parkinson’s disease: the nurse’s role
- Cite this article as:
- MacMahon, D. & Thomas, S. J Neurol (1998) 245(Suppl 1): S19. doi:10.1007/PL00007732
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In recent years it has become apparent that nurses have several key roles in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. These include the practice of skilled clinical care, the provision of advice and education, communicating with patients and carers, and also between health and social care agencies. Their goals are to facilitate good clinical care, to reduce morbidity (both physical and psychological) and to achieve better informed patients by the reduction of misinformation, fear and distress caused by the diagnosis and consequences of this disease. The overall goal is to improve the prognosis and to reduce the impact of this disease on patients and their care givers. To achieve these goals the specialist nurse needs skills in assessment, reassessment and counselling in addition to knowledge of the disease and its management. The training needs have been established for the nursing profession to address these issues, and courses have been established and approved. A scale comprising four clinical management stages has been proposed: initially around the time of diagnosis; stable maintenance therapy; a more complex management stage, and palliative care. Nursing interventions and priorities differ in these arbitrary stages. Several models of nursing provision have been piloted in the United Kingdom, and results of evaluations are keenly awaited. Meanwhile, specialist nurses are proving to be popular with patients and carers, medical specialists, and the Parkinson’s Disease Society which aims to see their provision in each Health District throughout the United Kingdom. In summary, the nursing role is complementary to those of the other members of the multi-disciplinary health team that aims to improve the quality of life of PD patients and their carers.