Preferences for rural specialist health care in the treatment of Parkinson's disease: Exploring the role of community-based nursing specialists

Veronica Coady, Narelle Warren, Nancy Bilkhu, Darshini Ayton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


People living with Parkinson's disease (PWPD) in rural areas have limited access to local condition-specific care. This paper examines the healthcare preferences of PWPD living in rural areas and how a community-driven initiative to employ a movement disorder nurse (MDN) functioned to address barriers to health services access. A qualitative design facilitated an understanding of how interactions with the health system shaped PWPD and their carer's experiences of living in a regional community. A total of 42 semi-structured interviews were conducted 6-9 months apart 19 interviews with PWPD and 23 dyadic interviews. The findings support the contention that specialist care can be effectively delivered through allied health professionals in some settings. In particular, having access to a specialist MDN can cushion the effects of living with Parkinson's disease in regional and rural areas where continuity of care and access to timely support is often difficult for people to find. The quality of social support provided by the MDN may increase people's ability to cope in the face of an unpredictable disease course. This is consistent with prior research, which identified that a specialist nurse or allied health services for people living with chronic conditions is enhances quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-53
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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