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New UK NHS project modernises care for people with Parkinson’s

A digitised system that helps people with Parkinson’s (PwPs) manage their own symptoms from home while allowing their clinicians to remotely assess their condition and optimise their treatment could shape the future of Parkinson’s care across the UK.

As part of the Home-based Parkinson’s Care project, every six months, around 200 PwPs are being remotely monitored using a cutting-edge Parkinson’s Kinetigraph (PKG) watch which is worn around the clock for six days to monitor their movements at home.

Doctors then use the information it collects to spot signs that a PwP’s medication needs changing, improving quality of life, or to make other interventions such as physiotherapy.

To supplement the PKG data, PwPs answer questionnaires about their non-motor symptoms. They have also been given resources to help them self-manage their symptoms.

PwPs also have a phone number and email to contact for support and they can request a consultation at any time, which will take place within 10 days. Four in five of these appointments take place over video call – saving many PwPs the trouble of travelling to the hospital in person.

Under this system – which was created after consulting PwPs – each PwP is reviewed more regularly as opposed to having an in-person consultation, for instance, once every two years. It also puts less emphasis on PwPs remembering to inform their doctor about their various symptoms as these should be picked up by the new process.

Pioneered by University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, together with the University of Plymouth, the project has received a recent boost of half a million pounds to fund the full digitisation of the service over the next year to make it more efficient. This will enable PwPs to complete the questionnaires via a portal, rather than on paper, so that all of their data – and the ability to contact their clinician – will be available in one place.  

The Home-based Parkinson’s Care project is led by Dr Camille Carroll, an associate professor in Neurology at the University of Plymouth and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, who said: “We have worked directly with Parkinson’s patients to develop the best care possible, including the use of life-changing monitors, known as the Parkinson’s Kinetigraph, which can be worn by patients around the clock to monitor their symptoms.

“This helps to provide reassurance for patients and also means that NHS staff can provide a comprehensive six-monthly review, while also allowing hard-working staff to free up clinical capacity for those who need face-to-face appointments.”

Portrait of Prof Camille Carroll from Plymouth University
Dr Camille Carroll

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We have worked directly with Parkinson’s patients to develop the best care possible

Dr Camille Carroll, associate professor in Neurology at the University of Plymouth
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Further reading:

  • New non-motor symptom app could improve care for people with Parkinson’s
  • Find out about other Parkinson’s research taking place at the University of Plymouth
  • Italian Parkinson’s wellness centre expands with new professional training building and online services
  • Parkinson Italia calls for permanent Italian tele-medicine service for people with Parkinson’s

Do you think this could be a better way to treat people with Parkinson’s? Email [email protected] and tell us your thoughts. 

Parkinson's Europe is sharing this article for information purposes only; it does not represent Parkinson's Europe's views and is not an endorsement by Parkinson's Europe of any particular treatments, therapies or products.

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