Health professionals are paying it forward with Parkinson’s learning module

Online education tool for physicians helps identify Parkinson’s signs and symptoms.Health professionals across Canada, and even internationally, are completing Parkinson Society Canada’s (PSC’s) first online learning module based on the Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease and then recommending it to colleagues and using the information at professional seminars and in classrooms.

Joanie Gourde-Bellerose, Pharm, D., works in a busy pharmacy in Abitibi, Quebec. She also teaches nursing degree students at a local university.

“Although our community only has the services of one neurologist, we’ve recently had about four new patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I took this online learning module to review any new treatments,” she says. “It was also very valuable when I was preparing a lesson on Parkinson’s treatments for my nursing students. I’ll be recommending the program to them.”

Gourde-Bellerose also believes the program would be of great benefit to family physicians. “It often takes a while to see a specialist, so if the family physician can begin the process of diagnosis and treatment, the patient can get symptom relief that much more quickly. As well, the family physician can follow the progress of their patient with a true understanding of the knowledge at hand and work more closely with the specialist,” says Gourde-Bellerose.

Dr. Andrés Venegas is one of those specialists – a neurologist – who trained in Calgary for two years and now practices in Mexico, his native land. Earlier this month he was invited to give a lecture to family physicians in his community. His advance preparation led him to the PSC website developed for healthcare professionals, and the learning module.

“I thought it would be a useful training tool for family physicians and general practitioners – and it was,” he said. “My lecture to about 70 doctors was a great success.”

Dr. Venegas has translated some of the guidelines and adapted them to the local health system and resources, which were well received in his health care community. Ultimately, it is the people living with Parkinson’s who benefit the most when health care professionals have the latest knowledge.

Since the module launched last December, about 25 per cent of those who received a personal email announcing the training opportunity, have registered and completed the module. It is based on the recommendations in PSC’s Canadian Guidelines on Parkinson’s Disease and has been accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada for continuing medical education credit. It is currently available to all allied health professionals at no cost.

The module uses case scenarios accompanied by questions and answers throughout the session making it an interactive and effective learning tool. The module focuses on how to identify, treat and manage the motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

We encourage you to pass along this information about this accredited learning module to your professional colleagues and to the members of your health care team. If you have completed the module and would like to provide feedback, contact Grace.Ferrari@parkinson.ca, National Manager, Public and Professional Education.


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All material related to Parkinson's disease contained in Parkinson Post is solely for the information of the reader. It should not be used for treatment purposes. Specific articles reflect the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of PSC.

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