A pair of specialist nurses have been recognised with an award for their involvement in setting up a specialist clinic for patients with both Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
The two Parkinson’s specialist nurses, who work at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, created their clinic three years ago when they identified a gap in dementia support in their service.
“By sharing their creativity and innovation, the nurses behind this clinic are pushing up standards”
At the clinic, patients are closely monitored and their dementia medications adjusted as their condition changes in conjunction with ongoing adjustment of Parkinson’s medication.
Staff also discuss long term care planning, power of attorney and advanced directives, providing a holistic approach to Parkinson’s dementia care.
The success of the clinic has how been recognised with an award, which aims to recognise and celebrate exceptional services that make a difference to people in the UK affected by Parkinson’s.
Nurses Tracy Williams and Sandra Mahon, were recognised at the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network Awards, which took place on 24 January 2018 at a conference in Birmingham. It is the second year that the awards have taken place.
Speaking about the clinic, Ms Mahon said: “Historically, whenever a person with Parkinson’s had suspected dementia, we were required to refer the patient to a separate memory clinic.
“This was sometimes a lengthy process and we found that it caused unnecessary anxiety to the patient, added stress on the carer, increased calls and unplanned hospital admissions,” she said.
“By incorporating dementia diagnosis and treatment into our Parkinson’s clinic, we are able to continue supporting patients as they enter more complex stages of the condition in a more constant and familiar environment, with a continuing staff rapport that improves the experience for patients and carers alike,” she said.
“We are able to continue supporting patients as they enter more complex stages of the condition”
Ms Williams added: “It’s wonderful that the changes we made to our service have been recognised by our peers, colleagues and – most importantly – people with Parkinson’s.”
Award judges, which included a panel of health professionals and patients, praised the clinic for placing importance on ensuring that continuity and consistency was key for people affected by Parkinson’s as their condition progresses.
Dr Donald Grosset, clinical director of the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network, said: “By sharing their creativity and innovation, the nurses behind this clinic are pushing up standards and encouraging other professionals to continually push the boundaries of high quality care – creating better services for those affected by Parkinson’s across the UK.”
He added: “There are some truly remarkable services that are at the forefront of exceptional Parkinson’s care, and these awards are essential in highlighting and celebrating the achievements of the staff that run them.
“The quality of entries this year was astounding, but the judging criteria was extremely challenging, so only the crème-de-la-crème was selected,” he said. ”With this in mind, I would like to congratulate Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Parkinson’s Dementia Clinic on their well-deserved success.”
“It’s wonderful that the changes we made to our service have been recognised by our peers, colleagues and people with Parkinson’s”
Alongside Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’s Parkinson’s Dementia Clinic, two other services received awards at the ceremony during the BritMODIS conference for neurologists, geriatricans, therapists and Parkinson’s nurse specialists.
Other winners announced were the quality improvement Parkinson’s collaborative at Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and the emergency admissions in-reach service for patients with Parkinson’s disease at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust.
The network was established in 2015 by Parkinson’s UK, alongside leading clinicians, to drive improvements in care. It aims to achieve consistent, high quality Parkinson’s services by sharing evidence, training, tools to support best practice and opportunities for collaboration.