An evaluation has been undertaken of the pilot project to provide a Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialist post for two years funded by Parkinson’s UK. The Mendip and Sedgemoor areas were identified for this pilot by Parkinson’s UK because of evidence that patients living in those areas had limited access to a specialist nurse.
Sharon Robbins was appointed and completed her evaluation in May 2015 which provides more detailed reflections on the role. The findings on the main report demonstrated that:
- there is a reduction in cost, activity and length of inpatient stay as a result of input from the Parkinson’s Community Nurse;
- the patients report increased satisfaction, particularly because they enjoy easy access to a skilled nurse and expert advice at the point of need, instead of waiting for consultant appointments or GP advice;
- a cohort of patients reported isolation due to the geographical location in which they live and their proximity to an acute provider, and this isolation would remain should the service not continue;
- a cohort of patients who reside in residential or nursing homes who have had access to the pilot service would otherwise receive no specialist care because they are unable to attend outpatient appointments.
The report recommended that funding is continued for a community based Specialist Parkinson’s Disease Nurse in the Mendip and Sedgemoor area and that the service links to the acute trust based specialist Parkinson’s Disease Nurses to provide countywide support for this population.