Parkinson’s patients missing out in the Illawarra

A meeting of Parkinson’s disease advocates and experts hosted by The Hon. Sharon Bird MP, Federal Member for Cunningham, was held at Wollongong Town Hall today.

 

Attendees heard how patients living with Parkinson’s disease may be unaware of the local support options available to help them manage the condition. In response, a new education campaign called Act on Parkinson’s is being launched in the Illawarra region with support from healthcare professionals and patient advocacy organisation Parkinson’s NSW.

 

Act on Parkinson’s aims to encourage people, particularly those with advanced Parkinson’s disease, to be better informed through speaking with the their healthcare professional, emboldening them to play an active role in the management of their illness. This is especially important for patients located regionally who may not be aware of the local treatment and support capabilities available to them.

 

The campaign features radio and digital advertisements including a video message from Narrawallee resident Christene Jones who has been living with Parkinson’s for over 20 years.

 

Parkinson’s advocates including Dr Sanjeev Taneja, a Neurologist based in Wollongong and Shellharbour, says patients are not always aware of the fact that even for advanced Parkinson’s disease, there may be local disease management support services available.

 

“There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but there are ways that the disease, even in its advanced stages, can be managed and we have services available locally that may help patients. It’s important that patients and carers speak with a neurologist to discuss the available treatment options which may not have been tried previously to decide which ones are right for them. It doesn’t have to be a case of patients accepting uncontrolled symptoms and suffering in silence,” said Dr Taneja.

 

People with Parkinson’s disease are encouraged to seek assistance from Neurologists specifically trained in the management of the disease to discuss their health and best options of treatment for the disease stage they are in.

 

A list of resources and support for people with Parkinson’s disease in the Illawarra / Shoalhaven region is available to download here. People interested in further information can also visit www.livingwithparkinsons.com.au. A symptom checklist is also available for download.

 

It is conservatively estimated that over 69,000 Australians and 25,000 people in NSW are living with Parkinson’s disease. A Parkinson’s diagnosis can occur at any age with the most common age of diagnosis being 65.

 

The Act on Parkinson’s campaign is sponsored by AbbVie Australia as part of their ongoing commitment to improving the lives of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

 

The campaign will run until March 2018.

 

See the Parkinson's Australia website at https://www.parkinsons.org.au/

 

23 February 2018.