LONG WAIT: Noel Eichmann with his wife Barb (right) and daughter Leisa (left) have looked forward to welcoming a Parkinson's nurse to the Fraser Coast for the past three years.
LONG WAIT: Noel Eichmann with his wife Barb (right) and daughter Leisa (left) have looked forward to welcoming a Parkinson's nurse to the Fraser Coast for the past three years. Jodie Callcott

Parkinson's nurse a 'relief' for sufferers

LIVING with advanced Parkinson's disease in Hervey Bay has been far from easy for Noel Eichmann, his wife Barb and their daughter Leisa.

Until now, there has been no hope of getting a Parkinson's nurse specialist service or neurologist to the Fraser Coast region, leaving sufferers like Noel, with no choice but to drive 285km to Brisbane.

For more than six years and thousands of hours work, Parkinson's Support Group Hervey Bay co-ordinator Jaimie de Salis OAM has been campaigning for a nurse who specialised in Parkinson's to be placed in Hervey Bay.

Finally, her pleas have been answered.

A Queensland Health Spokesperson has confirmed they are recruiting for a Parkinson's nurse navigator to assist families like the Eichmanns, who had lost faith in their local health network.

Leisa said she moved to Hervey Bay three years ago to help her mother care for her dad who is in the advanced stages of Parkinson's.

"It is really important we have this nurse, someone who is really trained up and totally familiar with all aspects of Parkinson's," Ms Eichmann said.

"My father has been in hospital a few times over the years, and just the lack of knowledge from general nursing staff and specialists with important things like (administering) medication on time.

"For people with Parkinson's, it's really important it's on time, every time.

"We've noticed over the years during dad's hospital stays, that hasn't happened.

"And just generally their lack of knowledge about deep brain stimulation (which Noel has had to assist with movement).

"They don't really know what it is about or how to deal with it once that person with Parkinson's is in hospital.

"It makes us all very nervous and anxious and not wanting to leave dad there."

Noel said having someone locally who understands Parkinson's would be a huge relief.

"The stress of driving down the Bruce Hwy for more than 500km is not very good for the patient," he said.

"The way I see it, we will still have to periodically see the specialist in Brisbane, but it will lessen the number of trips.

"Just to have your confidence in someone locally who can help you (is a relief)."

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CLINICAL NURSE BRINGS EXPERTISE TO THE COAST

THE growing need for specialised care for people with Parkinson's disease on the Fraser Coast has been recognised by the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.

WBHHS executive director of Acute Hospital and Community Services Debbie Carroll said the nurse navigator, when appointed, would have speciality training on Parkinson's disease.

Ms Carroll said this would enhance their clinical expertise in the area.

"Our new position will enhance the development of telehealth clinics for Parkinson's disease patients, because the nurse navigator will be able to assess and provide clinical feedback to specialists in Brisbane," she said.

"In turn this should reduce the need for patients to travel to Brisbane for appointments.

"The nurse navigator will also provide an advocacy role on behalf of patients who are having difficulty managing their condition.

Representatives of the WBHHS met with members of the Parkinson's Support Group Hervey Bay during 2018 to discuss their concerns and as a result took a submission from the group proposing additional support for patients.



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