20th January 2017
Progressive Neurological Disease
Around 100 people attended two workshops run by the Statewide Progressive Neurological Disease Service at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem in FY15–16. The service is designed to improve the quality of life of those living with a progressive neurological disease (PND). The service is funded by the Victorian Government, but it frequently provides education and phone advice to clinicians and services throughout Australia and, occasionally, beyond. Through our service, we seek to foster collaborative partnerships between health professionals and increase awareness of the issues faced by individuals living with PND and their families.
Over the years, many community clinicians have asked to visit the service to learn about the strategies and interventions that can assist people living with a PND. In response to an increasing number of such requests, staff in the service began offering community capacity‑building workshops in September 2014.
These full-day workshops offer attendees an opportunity to interact and exchange ideas about the complex management of people living with a PND. The workshops incorporate multidisciplinary presentations from allied health, nursing and medical staff on clinical management approaches and interventions. Participants are given the opportunity to attend a range of interactive sessions, where they can ask questions and trial a broad range of equipment, including hoists, wheelchairs, neck support collars and eye gaze–controlled computer-based communication systems.
Participants this year said they valued the small interactive sessions, which allowed time to focus on specific issues with specialist clinicians. The focus on quality of life and the use of videos and testimonials from real patients enhanced learning, giving insights into the experiences of patients and their families. Feedback from participants showed that these workshops were very well received.
Some suggested offering more targeted sessions, which led to the development of a post-conference workshop, run adjacent to the National Motor Neurone Disease Conference in September 2016.
Enabling People Living With a PND to Live Well
Dates for the next PND course – To be advised