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New Peer-to-peer Education Outreach Improves Clinical Care for Canadians with Parkinson's

TORONTO, CANADA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/02/14 -- Parkinson Society Canada (PSC) is partnering with Parkinson's experts across the country to deliver continuing education sessions for health care professionals. The new content will be delivered by webinar and at various conferences targeted to neuroscience and allied health professionals. In each session, participants will learn how to apply recommendations from the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson's Disease (CGPD) to their clinical practice setting, directly from a Parkinson's expert in their field.

"It's important that we educate clinicians to screen for, identify and treat Parkinson's motor and non-motor symptoms as the disease progresses," says Dr. Anne-Louise Lafontaine, Director, Movement Disorders Clinic, The Neuro, Montreal, and CGPD author.

Dr. Lafontaine adds that by the time Parkinson's progresses to the point where a clinical diagnosis can be made, patients may also be experiencing non-motor symptoms including anxiety or depression, sleep disturbances and constipation. Lafontaine hopes that educating others will lead to earlier diagnosis, allowing for more therapeutic options for Parkinson's patients.

Parkinson Society Canada provides health professionals with evidence-based resources and a variety of continuing education activities available at www.parkinsonclinicalguidelines.ca. The Parkinson Expert Series Webinars are currently running and the next interactive session in April features Dr. Galit Kleiner-Fisman. Other expert presenters in the series include Dr. David Grimes, Dr. Anne-Louise Lafontaine, and Dr. Jon Stoessl.

"We are reaching a wide range of health professionals from physiotherapists to family doctors. Feedback to the sessions has been positive," explains Grace Ferrari, National Manager, Professional & Public Education, PSC. "The goal is to unite professionals with their peers in targeted sessions that will result in improved comprehensive patient care."

PSC continues to expand its education outreach through relationships with national professional organizations. PSC will introduce the CGPD to pharmacists at the Canadian Pharmacists Conference in Saskatoon as well as endorse the Parkinson's disease guidelines for pharmacists article that will be published in the Canadian Pharmacist Journal.

Parkinson's is a complex. By PSC providing information targeted to each professional discipline, health care providers can better manage the progressive symptoms that accompany this neurodegenerative disease. This is particularly beneficial when Parkinson's patients do not always receive treatment in a multidisciplinary setting, such as a Movement Disorder clinic.

About the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson's Disease

The Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson's Disease provides health care professionals with a detailed understanding of Parkinson's. The Guidelines, endorsed by the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, are intended for a broad range of health professionals including: family physicians, neurologists, nurses, movement disorders specialists, allied health professionals (e.g. occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech language pathologists) and other specialists. The guidelines, published for the first time in 2012, will increase knowledge and will guide the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's.

What is Parkinson's Disease?

Parkinson's is a chronic degenerative neurological disease caused by a loss of dopamine in the brain. It affects over 100,000 Canadians. There is no cure. Symptoms include: resting tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness or rigidity of muscles, difficulty with balance and walking, changes in voice volume and speech, and difficulty with fine movements. Non-motor symptoms include depression, loss of sense of smell, sleep disturbances and cognitive changes. The average age of onset is 60, but it can affect people as young as 30 or 40.

About Parkinson Society Canada

Parkinson Society Canada is the national voice of Canadians living with Parkinson's, a neurodegenerative disease. Through regional partners and 240 chapters and support groups, it provides education, support, and advocacy on behalf of over 100,000 Canadians living with Parkinson's every day and the health professionals that serve them. Funding innovative research helps expand knowledge on prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's and will ultimately lead to a cure. www.parkinson.ca.

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