"My experience of understanding Parkinsons"
Posted by antonyc (as ),
My wife was admitted to Whiston Hospital in Merseyside a week ago with an illness (currently unknown) that has amplified her Parkinson's symptoms and from the arrival of the Ambulance staff at our home to our interface with every nurse we have encountered the level of medical care and the priority shown has been excellent.
However, throughout all points of contact I feel it is clear that there is a significant lack of understanding of Parkinson’s disease (PD), how it is manifested, the impact it has on the patient and most of all the importance of the accurate timing of medication and in allowing patients with PD to self medicate. I think this is clearly something that is not the 'norm' and causes great concern amongst nurses in allowing people to take their own medication. I personally set out my wife’s medication on a weekly basis and despite having provided schedules and timetables of medication, they were continually demonstrating concern.
This is not in any way a slant against the nurses but I feel gives an example of what an impact it would make if both student and experienced nurses were trained in the methods of treating PD in a brief but practical course amongst the many training courses they undertake.
However, I believe one area of significant disappointment was the treatment from most Doctors and the one Consultant who my wife has met so far, as I felt that they had little understanding of PD. The reaction received from them was not one of a lack of understanding but demonstrating 'care' as it was for nurses, but seemed to demonstrate a complete dismissal of the serious nature of the symptoms because I think they didn't understand how to deal with the issue.
The only exception to this from my observation was the doctor on A&E who professed not to understand PD but showed empathy with the impact the effects had caused and a Junior doctor on her ward who also had little or no experience of PD but strived at every opportunity to find a resolution by asking for support at every turn, unfortunately it seemed to me with little benefit.
I believe we have a NHS that we should all be proud of and that everyone working in it should be proud to serve in. I do understand that PD is one of many diseases that are present in the UK. I found out that at present 120,000 out of a 60 million people have PD representing 0.2% of the population. Many of these 120,000 are likely to turn up in hospital every year, but I wonder how many does it take before the training and support is provided.