New Parkinson’s nurse announced for Tweed Heads

People living with Parkinson’s disease in the Tweed region of northern NSW are set to benefit from the appointment of a Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Northern NSW Local Health District and Parkinson’s NSW was signed on Tuesday,10 December in Tweed Heads.

The position is being funded by the Local Health District in partnership with Parkinson’s NSW at a cost of $450,000 over three years.

“The prevalence of Parkinson’s is higher in rural and remote areas, yet most of the specialist services for Parkinson’s are found in capital cities. Therefore access to quality health care is an issue,” said David Veness, President of Parkinson’s NSW.

“That’s why the placement of Specialist Parkinson’s Nurses in regional areas like Tweed is so important. They deliver specialist care to help to bridge this healthcare gap for people living with Parkinson’s.”

This position is a credit to the vision of Wayne Jones… Chief Executive of the Northern NSW Local Health District… and Tweed Local Member Geoff Provest of the Nationals.

(L to R) Jo-Anne Reeves CEO Parkinson’s NSW, Geoff Provest Tweed local member, David Veness Parkinson’s NSW President and Wayne Jones CEO Northern NSW Health District with members of the Parkinson’s NSW Tweed Heads Support Group

They clearly understand the needs and challenges of the Parkinson’s community of this region… and as the peak body for Parkinson’s in NSW we are proud to partner with them.

This Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse will be co-funded by Parkinson’s NSW and the Local Health District. Recruitment for the new position will begin in the New Year and we expect Parkinson’s Specialist Nursing services to be available to the community within the first half of the year.

This nurse placement is the fourth established by Parkinson’s NSW and the third based on this joint-funding and partnership model with the nurse physically based in the LHD organisation.

Research conducted by Charles Sturt University on behalf of Parkinson’s NSW over the past two years has concluded that this model offers the maximum benefits to the NSW Government… the Parkinson’s community and the Nurses themselves.

It permits the Parkinson’s nurses to function as a member of a multi-disciplinary team of health professionals… and to support people living with Parkinson’s from first diagnosis to the end-stage of their disease.

Care for people living with Parkinson’s can be seamlessly delivered across a variety of settings – hospitals, homes and nursing homes – to minimise costs to the NSW health system and maximise health and wellbeing outcomes for Parkinson’s patients and carers.

The involvement of a Nurse as a member of the care team can reduce Length of Stay in hospitals for people living with Parkinson’s… saving up to $8,600 per person over a three-year period for NSW Health. Furthermore… Parkinson’s Specialist Nurses are highly cost-effective. The benefits delivered by each Nurse are up to 7 times greater than their cost.

The specialist Parkinson’s nurse can also help build the capacity of local Parkinson’s NSW Support Groups. Parkinson’s NSW has a network of 70 peer-support groups across the state – and we were honoured to have members of the Tweed Parkinson’s Support Group present at the signing of the MOU.

Parkinson’s Support Groups play a vital role in providing non-judgmental support for people living with Parkinson’s and their carers – and provide education and social opportunities that break through the isolation that so many people living with Parkinson’s experience.

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