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Wellbeing Team Supports Kate On Her Journey With Parkinson's

Having support from the Parkinson’s SA Wellbeing Team was vital for Kate following her diagnosis.

Kate with Parkinson's SA Clinical Nurse Consultant Jo Dalton

"Having a team of supportive and understanding people around me was absolutely vital."

Parkinson’s SA was pleased to recently announce that Joanne Dalton had joined the team as our new Clinical Nurse Consultant (Neuro and Movement disorders).

We’re thrilled to have Jo in our multidisciplinary team. The expert care and support she provides will make a huge impact in our community.

Someone who’s already seeing this impact is our wonderful client, Kate – a 64-year-old former chef and avid gardener who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just over a year ago.

Kate says, “The diagnosis was really overwhelming at first. It did take a while to actually accept the fact that I have Parkinson’s and that I need to reach out to people for support.”

Kate had no family history of Parkinson’s, so when she started experiencing tremor, anxiety and depression, that was not the diagnosis she was expecting.


“I thought it was just stress-related because my daughter was going through her own health complications,” Kate says.

“Receiving that diagnosis provided clarity, but was isolating at first, especially since it was during our COVID-19 lockdown when I couldn’t access in-person care. I quickly learnt that having a team of supportive and understanding people around me was going to be absolutely vital.”

Our Wellbeing Team prides itself on being supportive and understanding, and we’re so glad to have been able to be there for Kate.

Kate now has a multidisciplinary care plan in place, including daily exercise and yoga at our Brain X Body Fitness Studio, mindfulness and stress-management with our Social Worker, Maggie, occupational therapy with Christian and of course, consultations and clinical support with Jo.

Kate says, “The support from the whole team has been extraordinary. Now, with the addition of Jo, it’s just helped put another arrow in the bow.”

Kate first came to see Jo because she was experiencing a great deal of pain, and was concerned about muscle rigidity, posture and balance.

“I wanted to learn how to manage my pain, and whether there are exercises I can do or practical tips to avoid a flare-up when gardening so I can address it earlier, rather than later,” says Kate.

Kate with Parkinson’s SA Clinical Nurse Consultant Jo Dalton

Like all our team members, Jo is specially trained to help people like Kate with the unique and complex challenges they face.

As Kate says, “To speak to a professional who really listens and understands where you’re coming from is absolutely marvellous.”

Jo’s client-centred approach means she takes the time to listen to the needs and wishes of each person she sees. She provides detailed, holistic assessments and individualised care plans, always involving her clients and their support people in decisions relating to their care.

“Every person’s experience of Parkinson’s is unique, and care plans should always be individually tailored to reflect that,” says Jo.

In addition to Jo being an expert in neuro and movement disorders, the flexibility and accessibility of a community-based nurse is a huge benefit for clients like Kate.

“Sometimes, you can only see your neurologist once every six months, so there are often questions that you’d like answered in the interim,” Kate says.

Being an open-door service, clients can come and see Jo without a referral, and appointments can be offered in a range of settings, including at Parkinson’s SA, in clients’ homes, residential aged care facilities or acute care settings. This is so important for our clients’ independence and emotional wellbeing.

Knowing that Jo and the rest of the team are always there when she needs them, Kate now feels reassured and optimistic about her future.

“To be honest, without the team supporting me, I really don’t know where I’d be. I can call or email them anytime I want to, and they’re always there to help. You couldn’t ask for a better service really,” says Kate.

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