People living with Parkinson’s disease and their carers have welcomed a specialist neurological nurse in the Port Macquarie area.
Specialist neurological nurses play a key role in meeting the needs of people living with Parkinson’s disease by liaising between patients and specialists, educating aged care facilities, health care professionals and pharmacists, and administering advanced nursing practices.
They also provide support during hospital stays and help with referrals to complementary therapies.
The benefits flow to people living with Parkinson’s disease and their carers.
Specialist neurological nurse Rachael Mackinnon said she was extremely privileged and extremely honoured to be in the role.
“I’m very passionate about looking after people with Parkinson’s,” she said.
Ms Mackinnon said she really did want to make a difference.
The position is funded by the Mid North Coast Local Health District in partnership with Parkinson’s NSW at a cost of $450,000 over three years.
Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams and Parkinson’s NSW president David Veness announced the appointment on November 27.
Port Macquarie Parkinson’s Support Group started the push for a Parkinson’s nurse more than six years ago and it grew from there.
Stuart Snowden was the support group’s president in the early days of the campaign.
He said it fabulous to have a Parkinson’s nurse here.
Mr Snowden believes the benefits will include education within the community and aged care facilities.
“There are so many people that don’t understand Parkinson’s and how it manifests in different ways,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Williams said specialised neurological nurses were proven to have many benefits for people living with Parkinson’s disease and their families.
Mrs Williams said further education, for example, would make such a difference to people’s lives.
Timing of medication is critical for people living with Parkinson’s disease.
A project in the Coffs Harbour area to improve the delivery of timely medications after hospital admission for people living with Parkinson’s disease has yielded results.
Vince Carroll is the Coffs Harbour-based specialist neurological nurse.
Mr Veness said the appointment of a specialised neurological nurse in the Port Macquarie area would make a huge difference for the local Parkinson’s community.
He said the quality of life aspect was very important.
“It will be great to see the reception you get, Rachael, as you go out and about and I know it’s already happening,” Mr Veness said.
Mr Veness said given time, he thought there would be Parkinson’s nurses right across regional and rural areas of NSW.
Mid North Coast Local Health District chief executive Stewart Dowrick said this was the only local health district in the state with two Parkinson’s nurse roles.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous system with symptoms including tremors, slow movement, stiffness and loss of balance.
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