Collaborative care for Parkinson’s patients

This April, in support of Parkinson’s disease awareness month, we introduced the community to some members of the Okanagan Movement Disorders Clinic at Kelowna General Hospital and shared a bit about their work to support patients and their families navigating a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.

This kind of local impact on patient care has been made possible by the generosity of our community. And you can help. For more information and to support advancements like these in brain health care, please visit Brain Health | KGH Foundation.

Collaborative care for Parkinson’s patients

Parkinson’s disease affects roughly 2,700 people in the Interior Health Region. Last year alone, over 300 people living in the region were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

For someone with a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, navigating the changes in the 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.  

Keeping people ‘moving’

The team with the Movement Disorders Clinic Kelowna General Hospital (KGH) keep their patients and their families ‘moving’ in more ways than one.  

The Clinic’s specialists work collaboratively to ensure that patients living with Parkinson’s disease are supported and cared for in a personalized manner. Family members are also supported, educated and empowered with resources and knowledge to best support their loved one living with the disease.

“Building a relationship with a patient’s family, or the people closest to them, is key,” states Dr. Daryl Wile, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist. “We all become part of a team that can observe and can spot the changes in the disease progression and then treat accordingly.”

The team in the Clinic supports patients with their current care needs, through speech-language pathology with Meghan Chana, advanced medication therapy support with Carmen Logan, and mobility exercises for patients with Sierra Castonguay. But beyond that, the introduction of embedded researcher, Dr. Kathleen Scullion, is helping to improve care for people living with Parkinson’s disease through evidence-based research.

“We think we can do a lot more within the clinic model by integrating research into care more directly,” explains Dr. Scullion. “Having more capacity helps us get those activities going alongside the clinical appointments. Ultimately we want to find and apply solutions to make life easier for these people and families.”

The Centre of Excellence for Brain Health at KGH

As part of the Closer to home than you think campaign, the KGH Foundation has committed to raising $5 million to establish a Centre of Excellence for Brain Health at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH)—establishing a hub for training, research, innovation and leadership in the rapidly expanding fields of neuroscience, stroke care, degenerative movement disorders, chronic pain, dementia and other related clinical focuses.

The Centre also aims to support the advancement of excellence in brain health care, bringing research closer to regional patients and providing them access to the best possible treatments and life-saving care, close to home. 

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.

The Movement Disorder Clinic has already benefitted from this gift as it allowed for the recruitment and hiring of Dr. Scullion.

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

“Our hope is that this gift will inspire others who, like us, have been impacted by a loved one’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease,” says Kim Humphreys, Barry’s daughter. “For many who choose to retire to the Okanagan from big cities, a vital consideration is the quality of the hospital. Dr. Wile and his team are doing incredible work at KGH.  If this hits close to home for others, we encourage them to really consider giving to support this work.”

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

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