Laurie Lawrence and Gold Coast-Tweed Parkinson’s support service nurse Moira Selmes at a national nursing conference on the Gold Coast.
Laurie Lawrence and Gold Coast-Tweed Parkinson’s support service nurse Moira Selmes at a national nursing conference on the Gold Coast. Photo: Supplied

Nurse specialises in Parkinson's

NURSE Moira Selmes is a support service for Tweed and Gold Coast residents with Parkinson's disease.

Mrs Selmes is a community-based nurse specialising in Parkinson's.

"Really we're there for patients who are in hospital - it could be private or public hospital - in a nursing home or in the community," Mrs Selmes said.

"There's an awful lot of people living with PD and they're struggling on their own.

"So now we can provide a service for the Gold Coast where they can get the assistance that they would need in order to improve their quality of life."

Mrs Selmes attended a nurses conference on the Gold Coast last week, along with Olympic and world champion swim coach Laurie Lawrence and other leading Parkinson's experts.

"It's all about enabling the patient to get the best quality of life possible and that's really difficult for Parkinson's because they, (as) it is a movement disorder, have difficulty, particularly if they're young, about working.

"You know often they can't work just because of the movement issues.

"They have a lot of medications that they need manage throughout the day.

"And they need to know the best way in which to manage that condition."

The conference called for the establishment of a national network of community-based nurses to improve the quality of life of up to 1-in-500 (9000) Queenslanders affected by the neurodegenerative disease.

Research by the University of Sydney has found Parkinson's nurse specialists "significantly reduce the physical and psychological burden encountered by (those) living with a common, chronic brain disorder and their carers.

Conference presenter Associate Professor Simon Lewis, who spearheaded the Australian-first research, said Parkinson's nurse specialists were uniquely positioned to ease the burden of the disease on patients and their carers.

"Our two-year pilot study ... revealed that patients had better health, according to their carer, when they had access to a specialist nurse," the university's Parkinson's Disease Research Clinic director said.

"We also found that the informal (unpaid) carers or family members of people living with Parkinson's noticed significant improvements in their own health, with reduced levels of depression.

For more on Mrs Selmes' service phone 07 5519 8211 or click here.

For more on the research, known as the Shoalhaven Project, click here.



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