The Parkinson’s Foundation Announces the Community Partners in Parkinson’s Care Program

In January 2023, the Parkinson’s Foundation announced the Community Partners in Parkinson’s Care Program. The program is designed to provide organizations with education and tools to help staff better care for residents with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s Disease: A Growing Concern

Parkinson's Foundation logoA 2022 study sheds light on the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease in North America. The study estimates that nearly 90,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease every year, indicating a significant increase over the previous estimate of 60,000 diagnoses per year.

The study used five epidemiological data sets, including the Honolulu Asia Aging Study in Hawaii, the Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, the Rochester Epidemiology Project in Minnesota, the Ontario Healthcare Administrative Database, and the U.S. Medicare Database. The use of these five data sets makes the study the most comprehensive assessment of Parkinson’s disease in North America yet.

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, approximately one million Americans and 10 million people worldwide are affected by the disease. Parkinson’s disease is also the fourteenth-leading cause of death in the United States.

The Community Partners in Parkinson’s Care Program

Rose Wichmann, PT, national program co-director at the Parkinson’s Foundation, explains that the Foundation is working to expand the program nationally. “The Parkinson’s Foundation is committed to improving care for all people with Parkinson’s, including those with advancing symptoms who are using the services of home care agencies and senior living communities,” she says. “This program initially started in the Upper Midwest 10 years ago at Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota (a designated Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence), and has grown to include sites in 22 states. The Foundation is excited to take over this important training program and raise even greater awareness at the national level.”

The original program had grown to include over 100 sites. “There is now growing interest to continue expansion of the program across the country,” says Wichmann.

The Community Partners in Parkinson’s Care Program provides education using virtual and in-person training. The program uses the train-the-trainer model and provides participants with tools to educate at least 70% of staff at their site. Wichmann explains that each member site sends two site champions to two days of virtual training. “In this course, site champions receive an education on Parkinson’s disease, as well as the necessary tools and resources needed for them to return and train their staff, with emphasis on direct care providers.”

“Organizations can expect to see increased staff knowledge and confidence in providing care to those living with Parkinson’s disease,” says Wichmann. “Other important benefits include greater understanding of the importance of receiving Parkinson’s medications on time, and provision of knowledgeable team-based care from all team members. For those living with Parkinson’s and their care partners, the program will also help offer confidence and peace of mind when making decisions.”

Organizations interested in participating in the program can email for additional information, an online application, and fee information.

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