Q&A with Dr. Wile

In support of Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month this April, we’re introducing the community to the members of an Okanagan Movement Disorders Clinic at Kelowna General Hospital and their work to support patients and their families navigating a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis.  

HOLDING STEADY 

While life can feel anything but steady with a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis, KGH Neurologist Dr. Daryl Wile is steadily advancing care for his patients throughout the southern interior of BC 

For someone with a Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis, the journey to navigate the changes they experience in their body and mind can be frustrating and daunting. But thanks to an Okanagan Movement Disorders Clinic at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH), patients and their families have access to compassionate and comprehensive care.

Dr. Daryl Wile, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist, relocated to Kelowna from the Lower Mainland in 2015 to establish the specialized clinic at KGH.

We spoke to Dr. Wile about his work and his vision for the clinic in support of patients with Parkinson’s Disease and other movement disorders.

What is the main focus of your work?

I work with a variety of patients with movement disorders and upwards of sixty patients with Parkinson’s disease every month. Neurology, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s, are based on relationships and examination with patients. Getting to know the person I’m assessing is incredibly beneficial. It allows me to deliver personalized treatment that help people feel and function better.

How do you diagnose Parkinson’s disease?

It is still primarily a clinical diagnosis based on the history and examination and detailed assessment with a specialist. Often, a family doctor will notice symptoms and refer their patient to me.

This is why getting to know a person and their history, along with a physical exam and the tracking of their symptoms is important. Building a relationship with a patient’s family, or the people closest to them, is also key. We all become part of a team that can observe and can spot changes in the disease progression and then treat accordingly.

What keeps you interested and passionate about your work?

I love when we can learn new things about Parkinson’s disease from our patients. The patient-centred approach we practice in the Clinic has led to a greater understanding of the neurodegenerative disorder, particularly the impact of non-motor symptoms – like sleep disturbances, anxiety, mood fluctuations, and issues with blood pressure and bladder/bowel function – on the quality of life for our patients.

These insights have led me to turn some attention to less understood areas of Parkinson’s, exploring how research methods can be applied to study non-motor symptoms more thoroughly. It’s really exciting!

What is your vision for the future of care and treatment for Parkinson’s Disease at KGH?

My vision is for KGH to be renowned as a centre where patients receive the best neurological care and where my neurology colleagues find their work fulfilling, valued, and sustainable.

How do we get there?

The region and population we serve is diverse and we need to expand specialized care through a well-coordinated regional approach. I see a future where patients receive consistent, high-quality care tailored to their unique needs. To help get us there, we need to leverage technology to enhance access for patients in rural and remote areas, so everyone can receive exceptional neurological care, no matter where they live.

In order to provide our patients with access to the best treatments and care possible, we must innovate.

The establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Brain Health at KGH, is a big step in the right direction. This initiative, part of the KGH Foundation’s Closer to home than you think campaign will support a hub for training, research, innovation and leadership in the rapidly evolving fields of clinical neurosciences.

What brought you to Kelowna General Hospital?
It was a personal and professional choice to move to Kelowna so that I could establish an Okanagan Movement Disorders Clinic at KGH. My wife and I have family in Kelowna and family is very important to us. Kelowna is a fantastic place to live and for our children to grow. It is also a place where I have a unique opportunity to make an impact with this work in neurology and be part of growing a neurology program in a smaller urban centre.

With the exceptional care I see in this hospital day after day, I am proud to be part of a system that is evolving and adapting.

How can the community help advance care for Parkinson’s at KGH?

Support from the community allows us to go beyond what we need today, and drive care further. No matter the size of the gift, together we can change health care and transform lives.

Earlier this year, the family of one of Dr. Wile’s patients, Barry Humphreys, announced a $1 million commitment to the KGH Foundation to advance regional Parkinson’s care at KGH 

This gift will grow the Movement Disorder Clinic’s capacity by helping to recruit more specialists who are skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s and related conditions as well as fund projects and solutions that will advance care. It will continue to integrate wrap-around supports and develop a team-based care model that connects other sites across our vast region. 

For more information and to give, please visit Brain Health | KGH Foundation 

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