New Parkinsons clinics in Rhondda, Merthyr and Mountain Ash
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board’s Parkinsons Disease Nurse Specialist Service is expanding to provide clinics in the Rhondda, Merthyr and Mountain Ash in a drive to bring their support closer to patients’ homes.
The service comprises a team of specialist nurses who support patients who have been diagnosed with various forms of ‘parkinsonism’, including Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy body dementia. The nurses assess and follow up with patients who have been referred by GPs, consultants and other involved care professionals, such as physiotherapists, with whom they then work closely.
They provide patients and their families and carers with advice and support and, where appropriate, refer patients to other healthcare professionals for further support.
As part of this service, pre-Covid, patients used to attend a clinic held weekly at Ysbyty Dewi Sant in Pontypridd. During the restrictions, a telephone welfare service was established, with around 80% of all patients contacted. While this was valued by patients and their carers, they are now gradually returning to clinics and the health board has added a second weekly clinic at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda in Llwynypia so that people can be seen face-to-face more quickly.
In addition, the health board is planning to introduce monthly clinics at both Keir Hardie Park in Merthyr Tydfil and Ysbyty Cwm Cynon in Mountain Ash before the end of this year.
The team had been planning to bring services closer to patients and their carers before the pandemic, explains Sharon Jones, one of the team’s Parkinsons Nurses.
“Our patients and their carers really did appreciate the calls, as they could feel very isolated, particularly during the strictest restrictions,” she says.
“They are really pleased now to be able to receive home visits and come back to the clinics to see us face-to-face. We’re still restricting numbers and spacing to keep everyone safe, and we also want to offer services closer to people’s homes. So we’ve already opened our second weekly clinic at Ysbyty Cwm Rhondda, to help with demand, and we’re looking forward to opening monthly clinics in Merthyr and Mountain Ash before the end of this year.”