Online Learning Module Helps Family Physicians Treat Parkinson’s Patients

Parkinson Society Canada has been promoting the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease since the launch in summer of 2012. The materials have been promoted at medical and aging conferences, through publications and in partnership with the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.  Now more than 65,000 doctors and clinicians across the country are learning how to consistently identify, diagnose and treat Parkinson’s to a common standard, a first for Canada.

Now those doctors will have a new way to continue their medical education through an online course using virtual case studies based on knowledge from some of the 84 recommendations found in the guidelines. This online learning module, delivered in English and French, will educate family doctors and other health care professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists about managing the motor and non-motor aspects of Parkinson’s disease, while keeping the patient’s perspective top of mind.

“These online learning modules will allow clinicians to better identify the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s and will help family doctors and general practitioners make appropriate referrals,” says Grace Ferrari, Health Care Professional Education Associate at Parkinson Society Canada.

The case studies take doctors through two scenarios where virtual patients describe symptoms, allowing the doctor to apply her/his knowledge of the Canadian Guidelines for a proper diagnosis, ongoing treatment plan or referral where necessary. The first involves a newly diagnosed person with Parkinson’s who has yet to begin medication while the second covers a patient who has had Parkinson’s for eight to ten years.

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Online education tool for physicians helps identify Parkinson’s signs and symptoms.


“People see their family physician more regularly than they see their neurologist. Ultimately the modules will help family doctors communicate with their Parkinson’s patients in order to better recognize signs and symptoms of the disease. This improves management of Parkinson’s over time as it progresses,” Ferrari reinforced.

The modules will be accessible through Parkinson Society Canada’s website for health professionals at www.parkinsonclinicalguidelines.ca shortly. Although the online learning modules are geared towards health care professionals, Ferrari says anyone with an interest can use the resource to become more educated.

“There is an emerging focus on treating the whole patient. That’s why we see a shift to interdisciplinary health teams. Our education materials will serve a variety of those health care professionals,” Ferrari says.

The Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease online learning module was developed by Parkinson Society Canada with input from the Medical Advisory Committee, a group of experts that includes neurologists, movement disorder specialists and family doctors.

For more information on the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease and the online resources for health professionals visithttp://www.parkinsonclinicalguidelines.ca.

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