Most patients with Parkinson’s disease have access to a specialist nurse but a significant number remain unable to contact them between reviews, according the largest audit of its kind.
The results of the 2015 UK Parkinson’s Audit, the largest dataset obtained to date about the quality of care provided to UK patients with Parkinson’s, were published today.
“It is great to see that the overwhelming majority of people have access to a specialist nurse”
Developed to address the concerns of professionals and patients, the audit assesses the quality of care provided to people with Parkinson’s, across a range of clinical areas against national guidelines.
The audit, co-ordinated by the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network, reported on care provided to 8,846 Parkinson’s patients from 30 April to 30 September 2015.
It is the first year to include a “patient reported experience measure”, obtained by directly surveying patients.
The results will play a “key role in connecting and equipping” professionals to implement the changes identified by the audit, said the network.
It highlighted that the audit indicates many areas of good practice, with the vast majority of people with Parkinson’s who completed the survey (94.1%) able to access a Parkinson’s nurse.
However, only 74.6% of patients reported that they could contact their Parkinson’s nurse for advice between review appointments, meaning a “lack of access to support for significant periods of time”.
Meanwhile, the network described as “worrying” that only 50% of patients reported getting their medication on time while in hospital.
Of those who did not always receive their medication on time, 38.3% said that this had a negative or significantly negative effect on their health, the audit found.
Audit reinforces importance of Parkinson’s nurses
Jacqueline Young, nursing lead for the UK Parkinson’s Audit, said: “We know the huge impact Parkinson’s nurses have on the lives of people living with the condition, so it is great to see that the overwhelming majority of people have access to a specialist nurse.
“Parkinson’s nurse posts have demonstrated significant savings to the NHS,” she said. “On average a nurse can save £43,812 in reducing the number of consultant appointments, £80,000 in unplanned hospital admissions and £147,021 in days spent in hospital by providing care in local settings.
“All this maintains patients’ quality of life, while ensuring costly emergency hospital admission and crises are kept at a minimum,” she added.
Regarding getting medication on time in hospital, Ms Young noted that over the last two years Parkinson’s UK had funded nurse posts within the acute sector with the main objective to raise awareness of medication management and correct procedures.