Comment

Parkinson’s UK audit results are a call to action for nurses

The largest Parkinson’s audit to date shows many areas of good practice in nursing but improvements are still needed, especially in medication management, says Parkinson’s disease nurse specialist Jacqueline Young. 
Care for people with Parkinson's

The largest Parkinsons audit to date shows many areas of good practice in nursing but improvements are still needed, especially in medication management, says Parkinson's disease nurse specialist Jacqueline Young

There are currently 127,000 people living with Parkinsons in the UK. The condition is particularly prevalent among older people, and the ageing UK population means this number is expected to rise.

While the condition is largely managed through specialist intervention, generalist nurses can also have a huge impact on the quality of support for those living with the disease.

The results of the 2015 UK Parkinsons clinical audit the largest Parkinsons audit to date provide an insight into the quality of care provided to people with Parkinsons in the UK.

Call to action

While progress has been made, the audit shows there are still many areas

...

The largest Parkinson’s audit to date shows many areas of good practice in nursing but improvements are still needed, especially in medication management, says Parkinson's disease nurse specialist Jacqueline Young

There are currently 127,000 people living with Parkinson’s in the UK. The condition is particularly prevalent among older people, and the ageing UK population means this number is expected to rise.


Photo: Alamy

While the condition is largely managed through specialist intervention, generalist nurses can also have a huge impact on the quality of support for those living with the disease.

The results of the 2015 UK Parkinson’s clinical audit – the largest Parkinson’s audit to date – provide an insight into the quality of care provided to people with Parkinson’s in the UK.

Call to action 

While progress has been made, the audit shows there are still many areas for improvement. More than anything it is a call to action – not only for nurses but for all health and social care professionals involved in supporting people with Parkinson’s.

This year’s audit reports on the care provided to 8,846 people with Parkinson’s. As in previous years, information was collated from services including specialist nursing, neurology, geriatrics, physiotherapy and speech and language therapy.  A patient reported experience measure (PREM) was also included for the first time, obtained by directly surveying patients.

On the positive side, the audit indicates many areas of good practice in nursing. We know the huge impact that Parkinson’s nurses have on the lives of people living with the condition, and it was great to see that the vast majority of people with the disease who completed the survey (94.1%) were able to access these specialist nurses.

Specialists save money

Parkinson’s nurse posts have demonstrated significant savings to the NHS. On average, a Parkinson’s nurse can save £43,812 each year by reducing the number of consultant appointments, £80,000 in unplanned hospital admissions and £147,021 in days spent in hospital by providing care in local settings.

All this maintains patients’ quality of life, while ensuring costly emergency hospital admissions and crises are kept at a minimum.

Despite these positive results, only 74.6% of people with the condition reported they could contact their Parkinson’s nurse for advice between review appointments. This leaves many people without support for significant periods of time, an issue which needs to be addressed.

Generalist and community nurses can also have a huge impact on the care provided to people with Parkinson’s, but feedback from a number of community nurses shows many feel they are not qualified or specialist enough to offer the right level of care.

It is vital that community nurses know where they can access help and support. One of the key places is the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network – as the driving force for improving Parkinson’s care, this provides professionals with the connections and resources they need to implement changes identified by the audit. 

Key improvements

It is vital that everyone with Parkinson’s gets their medication on time, every time, but this doesn’t always happen and the impact can be life altering.

Worryingly, the audit revealed that only 50% of patients reported getting their medication on time while in hospital. Of those who did not always receive their medication on time, 38.3% said this had a negative or significantly negative effect on their health.

Nurses can play an integral part in ensuring patients get their medication on time. The Parkinson’s UK Get It On Time campaign provides lots of useful information and resources to support professionals in this, with the main objective being to raise awareness of medication management and correct procedures.

The audit results reveal a lot to be proud of. But they are also a call to action for nurses, and an opportunity to ensure best practice Parkinson’s care is in place for each and every person living with the condition in the UK.

Whether generalist or specialist, hospital or community based, nurses have a key role to play in supporting people with Parkinson’s.


About the author

Jacqueline Young is nursing lead for the UK Parkinson’s Audit

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs