Parkinson’s Academy: Developing services, improving patient care

Park_062The innovative, interactive learning style at the Parkinson’s Academy is what sets it apart. Led by expert clinicians with a strong practical focus on patient encounters, learning is self-directed (with individual mentor support) and goes well beyond the evidence base.

An integral part of the Parkinson’s MasterClass is the inter-module workplace project. This is an audit or piece of research which attendees undertake in their own area around service delivery, patient management, drug management, or hospital or community care.

Over the years, graduates have presented excellent projects following their learning at the Parkinson’s Academy, and as a result have implemented changes which have made a valuable impact on service development and make a real difference for people with Parkinson’s. Many projects have also gone on to be presented as posters at the British Geriatrics Society.

The Parkinson’s Academy’s track record of success demonstrates its value, and Parkinson’s UK continues to support this unique and imaginative approach to education because it represents the best framework for effecting improvements in the care people with Parkinson’s receive. The projects benefit a wide range of areas in Parkinson’s care and tie in with the goals of the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network to equip and enable professionals to influence services.

Since 2002, 701 health professionals have graduated from the Parkinson’s Academy, plus 383 who have attended regional day-long advanced MasterClasses to enhance and update their skills. A further 50 people are due to graduate this year.

Here are just a few examples of graduate projects which are changing the face of Parkinson’s care around the UK:

Developing an integrated care pathway for Parkinson’s
Neil ArchibaldDr Neil Archibald has gone from strength to strength at the Academy and now as part of the Faculty he shares what he has learned in his journey to develop a pathway. This huge undertaking to provide clarity on best practice is transforming how care is delivered for patients in Teesside.

Online inpatient drug calculator
Naomi Fox 2Dr Naomi Fox developed an online resource to improve the management of Parkinson’s medication when patients are admitted to hospital for any reason. The drug calculator has been adopted by Parkinson’s UK and is now available on Excellence Network website.

Addressing falls and bone health
Dr Sowjanya Potturu explored whether patients with a high fracture risk were given appropriate bone protection or investigations and found a clear need for further guidance on the assessment, prevention and treatment of falls and fracture.

A multicentre referral audit
Richard GeneverDr Richard Genever coordinated a multicentre audit looking at new patient referrals to a variety of settings exploring how they were managed. This provided an important proof of the concept that a set of standards could be agreed that could be tested across the whole of the UK and eventually helped to form the basis for what ultimately became the National Parkinson’s disease audit.

Impulsive and compulsive behaviours
TiptonDr Carolyn Tipton’s findings suggest that discussions with patients about these specific side effects are not well recorded in the notes. Highlighting these side effects to the GP is of particular importance so Dr Tipton has developed a Parkinson’s clinic review sheet which also services as a template for the GP letter.

Managing elderly surgical patients
Dr William Ogburn’s review identified good practice in managing Parkinson’s in elderly surgical patients but also highlighted issues with the need to educate staff on drugs and for better recognition and management of delirium.

Read about more inter-module projects completed by our graduates