You can be a Parkinson’s resource for your family physician – and we can help

parkinsons_resourceAs a person living with Parkinson’s disease, you are uniquely qualified to share your perspective, and important information, with your family physician and other members of your health care team, such as your pharmacist or physical therapist.  Keeping members of your health team well informed about your own state of health, as well as using and sharing the latest Parkinson’s resources from Parkinson Society Canada, will help ensure that you receive individualized care.

We have great tools to help you, your doctor and other health care professionals, as well as their other Parkinson’s patients, understand, treat and live with the disease. We suggest you and your physician begin with our online resources at www.parkinson.ca. There are sections specifically for people with Parkinson’s and for health care professionals. For those individuals without internet access, we operate a National Information and Referral Centre, which can be reached at 1-800-565-3000.

In addition, we want every physician to know about the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease, so don’t hesitate to share this resource created for health professionals by Canada’s leading experts on Parkinson’s disease. These guidelines, developed by Parkinson Society Canada (PSC), are available at no cost on the Parkinson Clinical Guidelines website, which also features our online learning module for health care professionals, accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. This introductory module consists of practical case scenarios that professionals can work through to gain insight into key challenges in the treatment and management of their Parkinson’s patients. Your physician will receive continuing medical education (CME) credits for completing this learning module. Additional modules will be available in the upcoming year.

As you know, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease and your symptoms will change over time. Often changes are subtle and you may not notice them or think the changes are a result of the disease. We’ve developed a checklist that may help you identify these changes. Complete the checklist every nine to 12 months and discuss these changes with your doctor during your next visit.

Two of our booklets, a Guide to the Non-Motor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease, are available in two versions: one for physicians and the other for patients. Both booklets have questionnaires, logs and checklists – tools to help guide conversations with your physician. Your family doctor may wish to contact PSC for printed copies of the patient versions of the booklets to give to their other Parkinson’s patients.

Parkinson Society Canada is continually reaching out to health care professionals, through their professional associations and publications and by attending and presenting at their national conferences. Next month, our National Manager of Public and Professional Education will be attending the Family Medicine Forum, co-hosted by the College of Family Physicians of Canada, in Toronto. Thousands of physicians from across the country attend this annual professional development event and PSC will be there to share information and resources and answer questions.

“By reaching out to health care professionals directly, and providing them with relevant resources for themselves and their patients, we hope to elevate the standard of care for Canadians with Parkinson’s disease,” says Grace Ferrari, PSC’s National Manager of Public and Professional Education. “It is also our hope that more physicians will recognize the early signs of Parkinson’s, leading to an earlier diagnosis. The sooner treatment of symptoms begins, the better quality of life a person living with Parkinson’s can have.”

The next time you visit your doctor, or another member of your health care team, consider passing along this article to them. If you have their e-mail address, why not forward them this issue of e-Parkinson Post with a personal note, encouraging them to check out PSC’s health care professional resources before your next appointment.

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