We try to run research studies every year with students in different disciplines, including psychology and speech pathology. In this section, you can read about some of the recent studies we have completed and are currently analysing and writing for dissemination to the scientific community, clinicians, and Parkinson's community.
Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist Janet McLeod has a mantra when it comes to Parkinson's: “The more we learn, the less we know. Most breakthroughs tend to lead to more questions than answers"
In a recent scientific journal article by ParkC, entitled "Communication strategies used by Parkinson’s nurse specialists during healthcare interactions: A qualitative descriptive study", we explored the range and use of communication strategies by Parkinson’s nurse specialists. We found that knowledge and use of effective communication strategies to support people with Parkinson’s is crucial for all health professionals working with this population in order to reduce the occurrence of poor healthcare outcomes. Positively, a deep understanding of how Parkinson’s disease affects communication and experience in implementing communication strategies was reported as contributing to the success of Parkinson’s nurses in communicating with their patients. Because the condition slows down movement and communication, Janet states that patience is one of the key attributes a Parkinson’s nurse specialist should have. A passion for helping people with the condition is also paramount.
You can read more about Parkinson's nurse specialists and their role by clicking on the 'FIND OUT MORE' button below.
Due to communication changes, many people with Parkinson’s find it difficult to navigate complex healthcare conversations. We are interested in understanding the communication strategies used by Nurses to support communication with people with Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s Nurses are part of a specialised health profession who have skills in caring for and communicating with people with Parkinson’s and their families. Knowledge and use of effective communication strategies to support people with Parkinson’s is crucial for all health professionals working with this population. This study was conducted by Emilie (pictured), a Speech Pathology honours student. Emilie conducted interviews with Parkinson's Specialist Nurses and asked them about their experiences and training in facilitating communication with their clients.
This study has provided us with some insight into the communication strategies that can be used by all health-professionals to support their healthcare interactions with people with Parkinson’s. We have just published this study (see section 'Scientific Publications' in the Research tab of our website). We aim to communicate the findings and recommendations to the Parkinson's community very soon.
Some people with Parkinson's have problems with communication, particularly in social settings. We are interested in finding out more about the things that help to make communicating in social situations easier and what may make it more difficult. We also want to understand the types of social situations that seem to be more or less difficult to communicate in, for people with Parkinson’s.
We hope that the information from this study will help support the development of therapy approaches to help with communicating in social situations. This study was run by Hayley, a speech therapy student (pictured). Hayley conducted two interviews - one with the person with Parkinson's and one with their communication partner (a spouse/family member or carer). Hayley has since completed her honours and is practicing in the field. We are currently interpreting the findings of Hayley's study, and we aim to communicate these finding to the wider scientific community (publishing in a journal), clinicians (such as nurses), and the community this research directly affects (people with Parkinson's and their communication partners) via community talks and Parkinson's Western Australia support groups.