Home-based Care, Pilot Project

An innovative combination of patient, care team and technology could transform the Parkinson’s care service care for those living in Plymouth city, West Devon and East Cornwall.

The “Developing Home-based Parkinson’s Care” project will equip 150 patients with a wristwatch-like device called a Personal KinetiGraph. The PKG will help them and the specialist Parkinson’s care team to monitor their condition at home.

The device monitors movement symptoms of Parkinson’s, processes the movement data and then sends it to the specialist team. It also tells the time! Together with information recorded about other symptoms such as changes in mood, the care team can identify the need for and monitor changes to medication.  The care team will work centrally to handle telephone calls for help and arrange clinic appointments when needed.

Current guidelines say that people with Parkinson’s should be reviewed by a consultant and/or a Parkinson’s nurse at least every six months, whatever the stage of their condition. A recent national audit by the project team found that nearly half of their appointments were delayed by more than six months. Also more than half them had not seen the community nurse in the last year. Some regions of the UK do not have a specialist service. Half of the vacant Parkinson’s nurse posts are due to long-term sick leave or resignation. Theerefore the need to use resources more effectively is urgent.

The project is being led for the University of Plymouth and University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust by Dr Camille Carroll, who is also a well known Consultant Neurologist at Derriford Hospital. Building on the principles of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI), Parkinson’s patients in the area, their families and healthcare teams are coming together to design a new service to better meet the needs and expectations of people living with Parkinson’s. The project will develop an education package to ensure people know how the service works and how to manage symptoms to ‘live well’ with Parkinson’s.

The project is funded by The Health Foundation (£75,000) and a Parkinson’s UK Excellence Network Service Improvement Grant (£15,500). Very important to the Health Foundation is that the service will also work better for healthcare staff, removing some of the frustrations of the current system and improving their wellbeing.

If successful, the team hopes the system could be rolled out across the UK.

Information courtesy of Mrs Amy King, Media and Communications Officer, Plymouth University.The Personal Kinetigraph (PKG®) is developed by the Global Kinetics Corporation. Image © Global Kinetics Corporation.