The new State Government has announced $2.5 million in funding for four FTE Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists to fill the gap in care for South Australians living with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions.
The nurses and their critical services will be administered through The Hospital Research Foundation Group – Parkinson’s and support clients in their own homes, aged care facilities or acute care settings.
More than 8000 South Australians live with Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative condition with complex motor and non-motor symptoms including rigidity, tremor, pain, gastrointestinal issues, depression and memory, thinking and sleep problems.
The community-based roles will provide specialised care to clients with more complex symptoms, helping them stay independent, avoid hospital and reduce pressure on our health system.
Health and Wellbeing Minister Chris Picton said growing demand for neurological services and an ageing population made it clear more support was required.
“This investment means people and families living with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions will get the services they need, now and into the future,” Minister Picton said.
“Our commitment guarantees the recruitment, training and support of these much-needed specialist nurses while increasing the ability to upskill GPs and allied health professionals about living well with Parkinson’s.
“I am pleased we are delivering on another key election commitment, as part of employing hundreds more nurses and a record investment in health.”
Olivia Nassaris, Executive Director of THRFG – Parkinson’s, said the nurses were much needed in the community.
“A Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist is an invaluable support person for clients and can coordinate a multi-disciplinary team of health care professionals needed to manage the condition,” Ms Narraris said.
“Parkinson’s nurses also have the time to take the client and their family through the suite of care and treatment options available.”
“Our scope of practice, developed with Wellbeing SA, focuses on education about living well with Parkinson’s including medication management, reducing falls, reducing hospital admissions and keeping people safely living at home for longer.”
The new nurses will be based at THRFG – Parkinson’s Unley office with the flexibility to travel to metropolitan and regional areas to suit their clients’ needs.
The community-first approach follows a similar model in Western Australia where Parkinson’s nurses have been successfully operating for more than two decades.