Parkinson’s Clinical Nurse Consultant, Suliana Manuofetoa
New treatment helping Parkinson’s patients at Hornsby Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital’s Neurology Parkinson’s Clinic is going from strength to strength. The clinic, which recently marked its first “Duodopa can be particularly effective for patients whose medication is wearing off or who are experiencing other fluctuations from levodopa,” Suliana said. “It’s also
helpful for patients with gastroparesis who are not digesting much of their Parkinson’s medications and can reduce motor fluctuations such as dyskinesias. “There is unfortunately no cure for Parkinson’s but this treatment can allow those patients who receive it to live better with their condition, reduce their symptoms, and hopefully maintain some degree of independence too.” The clinic, which is located in the Outpatients Department of the hospital, is staffed by Parkinson’s Specialist Nurse Suliana and a rota of four neurologists, led by Head of Neurology Dr Omar Ahmad. In its first year of operation, the once-a- fortnight clinic saw 50 new patients, including 68 neurologist follow-ups. Nurse Suliana also undertook about 100 nurse in-patient consultations over those 12 months and three patients commenced on apomorphine therapy. Previously, patients awaiting a diagnosis or needing follow-up treatment for Parkinson’s would need to wait to attend the clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital or attend a private clinic. The clinic can diagnose Parkinson’s disease in new patients, conduct physical examinations, check medications and update treatment plans. It complements the existing Parkinson’s rehabilitation clinic, which is available at the Hornsby hospital.
year in operation, has initiated its first course of the Duodopa treatment to a patient with advanced Parkinson’s disease. Aimed at assisting patients with advanced cases of the condition, which severely impairs the nervous system, Duodopa can help Parkinson’s patients absorb essential medication which in turn can help alleviate their symptoms. Suliana Manuofetoa, Parkinson’s Clinical Nurse Consultant at the clinic, said the treatment was a welcome addition to existing patient services. “The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai region has the largest population of people living with Parkinson’s in NSW,” she said. “Offering this therapy treatment is an exciting development for us. “It can be an effective treatment for patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease and allows both they and their carers to have a better quality of life, which is hugely important.” The two-stage treatment process is a complex therapy only currently performed in select centres. It helps deliver levodopa- carbidopa – medication for Parkinson’s - in the form of intestinal gel into the patient’s small bowel via a jejunal tube which is then rapidly absorbed into the brain. Patients are provided their own Duodopa pump connected to their jejunal tube which they can carry around with them, delivering a continuous infusion of Duodopa.
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