GERRY Garvey from Shelbourne Park in Limerick City was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just one year ago but already he has learned how valuable the services of the neurology nurse specialists are.
“I noticed a tremor in my hand that went on for a while and my GP sent me to have it checked out. It was Parkinson’s,” he told the Limerick Post.
Gerry can still work but has lost some dexterity, but he knows that having tied in early with the nursing service is giving him a fighting chance of living normally for a very long time.
The condition cannot be cured but early treatment and preventative measures can dramatically slow it’s progress.
The neurology nurse specialists in Limerick have hugely valuable information and supports to offer in that regard along with the Parkinson’s Association.
“I’ve gotten to know the nurses and they are fantastic for information about exercise and diet that can really help. The Association organises events and supports such as the singing group and they exercise to Irish music. These are all things that can slow this disease down and make a huge difference to a person’s quality of life,” he said.
“You see a neurologist, you’re diagnosed and then you don’t have another appointment for six months. The neurology nurses get to spend twenty times more time with a patient than a consultant does.
“They’re in the community, at the end of phone, they know the patients, they know the area – the fact that we have two nurses here in Limerick is down to the Association and the Chairperson, Una Anderson Ryan.
“She put it up to them by saying ‘we’ll pay half their salary’. It’s the reason we have neurology nurses and we’re the envy of the country because they are so important.”
Gerry believes that the Department of Health must look at the big picture.
“With Parkinson’s, prevention is definitely worth a ton of cure. If they spent money now on the supports that people need, they will save a fortune in health care down the road.”
The nurse specialists attend events organised by the Association and Gerry says they are vital to getting the message out there.
“There are 12,000 known cases out there and we believe there are 12,000 more who have not been diagnosed. And where you have a comprehensive nursing service, you’re also collecting valuable clinical data.”