Ann's cover image
Ann

Ann Dodd

Year of Award: 2013 Award State: Tasmania Health And Medicine > Diseases, Disorders And Syndromes
The Dr Dorothea Sandars Churchill Fellowship to study and experience innovative care models, including best practice specialist nursing services for people living with parkinsonism, including Parkinson's Disease - UK, Netherlands, Sweden
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I am a Clinical Nurse Consultant for the Neurological (Parkinson’s) Support Service, Tasmanian Health Service, Northwest.

It was a privilege to be awarded a Churchill Fellowship, and even more pleasing that I had the opportunity to study nursing service models in London and the Netherlands. The Fellowship also enabled me to attend the 18th International Congress for Parkinson’s disease, in Stockholm. The Fellowship has helped me raise awareness of people living with Parkinson’s and the people who care for them. It has also highlighted the complexity, individuality and burden of the disease, and the need for innovative services in Tasmania.

In the Netherlands I was warmly welcomed and included into the Western Dutch Parkinson’s disease nursing network. Linking into nurse-led clinics, observing real-time hospital electronic health records with medication alert systems (including medications to avoid for people with Parkinson’s), and observing deep brain stimulation surgery were valuable experiences.

I was able to gain an understanding of the Dutch ‘ParkinsonNet’ program, where specialist guidelines and curricula for training programs are developed to assist with clinical practice and education of health care professionals. The program identifies and links specialist health care professionals via a web-based program for collegial support. As I am based in a remote Tasmanian region with limited access to specialist support, this web- based program seemed particularly desirable.

In addition, people with Parkinson’s, as well as health care professionals, can also access a web-based portal and search engine for treatment options or to find a specialised professional in their community. Interestingly, quality assurance processes include transparency; people with Parkinson’s are able to give written feedback on their experience with a specialised health care professional, and this is available to others via the web.

I continue in my role as Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Northwest of Tasmania; the number of newly diagnosed people with Parkinson’s disease is growing steadily. In Tasmania, programs are being developed to help them maximise health and function.

Social support networks have been implemented, particularly for those of working age, and there is more information about where expert assistance is available. A small increase in nurse service provision has enabled access to certain advanced treatments, with greater connectivity of health care professionals who have expertise in the diverse and often complicated motor and non-motor symptoms.

Health Departments from other States are now adopting a similar model and are employing nurses to manage and support people living with this challenging neurological disorder.

On a personal note, I live with my husband and two ageing labradors. We enjoy bike riding and the beach nearby. We have two beautiful adult children, and have recently embarked on a new journey as grandparents. 

Excerpt from “Bringing Knowledge Home” published by the Churchill Fellows Association of Tasmania (2016) 

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