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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Mar. 10, 2020

Parkinson’s Victoria is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation as it develops in Victoria. The information on this page was updated on 30 March 2020.

COVID-19 Update: 30 March 2020

The latest changes announced by the Prime Minister Scott Morrison last night (Sunday) relevant to people living with Parkinson’s.

Telehealth

Have you got an upcoming GP or specialist medical appointment?

Effective from 8am today (30 March), the Australian Government has expanded Medicare-subsidised telehealth services to provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means you will be able to access bulk-billed telehealth consultations and not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs.

Among the services included are GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists, nurse practitioners, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, services to patients in aged care facilities and after-hours consultations.  

Health Minister Greg Hunt said expanding consultation services available by telehealth would limit unnecessary exposure of patients and health professionals to COVID-19, wherever treatment can be safely delivered by phone or videoconferencing.  

At the same time, the Government has also taken measures to ensure medical practices stay open to provide face-to-face services essential for patients with conditions that can’t be treated through telehealth.  

“One of things we don’t want to see during this pandemic is a reduction in services and support for people living with chronic health conditions such as Parkinson’s,” said Parkinson’s Victoria CEO Emma Collin.

“We welcome the move and new measures put in place to make sure people living with Parkinson’s can continue to access the care and medical services they need during this challenging time,” she said.

Contact your doctor or medical specialist to discuss the most appropriate course of care for you in light of this latest update.

Stay at home advice

People aged over 70 years and those with a chronic illness aged over 60 years, have now been “strongly advised” to self-isolate at home as much as practical to limit their interaction with others for their own protection.

This does not mean you cannot go outside. Instead the advice is to go outside accompanied by a support person for the purposes of getting some fresh air or for recreation, but to limit contact with others as much as possible.

If you do not have a support person who is able to help you with grocery shopping, you should contact your local MP, council or community organisation, such as Neighbourhood House, many of which are coordinating volunteer shoppers.

Check with your local pharmacy regarding medication deliveries.

If you need to talk to someone about how the changes are impacting you, or need information or advice on where to get assistance, remember, we are here to help.

Call our phone information line on 1800 644 189. Our phone is manned 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Leave a message after hours and we will return your call.

COVID-19 Update: 24 March 2020

Parkinson’s Victoria office changes

In line with Government advice to close non-essential services to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread, Parkinson’s Victoria has temporarily closed its Surrey Hills office, effective today Tuesday 24 March 2020. 

However, we remain open for business, with staff working remotely to ensure continuation of service provision. 

“The safety and well-being of our community and team is priority. While we provide an essential service, it’s one that can be effectively provided via our phone and online service,” said Parkinson’s Victoria CEO Emma Collin. 

She said people could be assured that the advice and information Parkinson’s Victoria is known for is still available over the phone and online. 

“The Parkinson’s Victoria team have been able to boost our phone and online service for people living with Parkinson’s and their families at this challenging time,” Emma said. 

The health team consists of experienced allied health professionals, including Parkinson’s nurses, speech pathologist and occupational therapist. They can also provide contact details of other medical and health professionals experienced in Parkinson’s if required.  

“Even though you have to change the way you live your life at the moment, what hasn’t changed is our commitment to support Victorians living with Parkinson’s to make sure they have all the information they need, even though the coronavirus pandemic,” Emma said. 

People with Parkinson’s are particularly vulnerable to experiencing more severe symptoms if they are struck down with coronavirus, so should stay home as much as possible and follow Government guidelines  in relation to social distancing when in contact with other people. 

Parkinson’s Victoria is in contact with the State Government and monitoring the latest Government advice daily. Updates will be posted on our website and Facebook page.

Our phone information service is available from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. Messages can be left after hours and will be returned the next business day. You can also email us, info@parkinsons-vic.org.au 

COVID-19 Update: 16 March 2020

InSearch lectures cancelled

Parkinson’s Victoria has made the difficult decision to cancel and postpone all community events and seminars until mid-May, including the 2020 InSearch research lectures in Echuca, Melbourne and Horsham.

“Over the past few days, there has been a significant shift in concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria, culminating with the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declaring a state of emergency this morning” said Parkinson’s Victoria CEO Emma Collin.

“It is incumbent on us to make sure the risk of exposure is reduced for those who are vulnerable; who have been shown to have the most severe response to the virus and that will include some members of the Parkinson’s community,” Emma said.

Parkinson’s Recently Diagnosed Seminars in Ballarat, Melbourne and Swan Hill have also been cancelled.

Next steps

Parkinson’s Victoria is directly contacting everyone already booked and impacted by the decision, and is arranging refunds for those who purchased tickets.

Given the number of people impacted, this could take several days. We ask that people be patient.

We are also working closely with Parkinson’s Peer Support Group leaders around the cancellation of PSG meetings and gatherings between now and 15 May 2020.

“The decision to cancel PSG meetings and associated activities has been difficult given people may feel more isolated than ever, but given the potential impact of COVID-19 on people living with Parkinson’s, this is a cautious but needed response,” Emma said.

“I want to assure our community that Parkinson’s Victoria remains by your side to provide timely and effective ongoing advice, with increased service and support to be offered over the phone during this challenging time,” she said.

The Parkinson’s Victoria health information line is manned on weekdays from 9am – 5pm. Messages can be left after hours.

Parkinson’s Victoria will re-assess the situation next month, after which we will provide a further update for events scheduled post-15 May 2020.

INSIGHT 2020 is going ahead

INSIGHT into Parkinson’s is a free online conference to empower people with Parkinson’s. This event is not attended in person but is watched on a personal computer from the comfort and safety of the home.

Parkinson’s Victoria has sponsored INSIGHT 2020 and is proud to help make this online global conference, with 60 speakers scheduled to present between 1-3 April, accessible and free for people living with Parkinson’s.

During this period, when Parkinson’s Victoria is unable to host face-to-face information and education events, INSIGHT 2020 provides access to quality information to increase understanding of Parkinson’s and build people’s capacity to better self-manage their condition.

As part of our Parkinson’s Victoria community, a 30% discount on the upgrade package is also available. Just enter the discount code - InsightPV20.

Visit the INSIGHT website for information on speakers and how to register.

Parkinson’s Victoria thanks everyone for their understanding and urges anyone with concerns or questions to call us on 1800 644 189 or via email, info@parkinsons-vic.org.au

COVID-19 Update: 10 March 2020

The health, safety and well-being of our community is our priority.

A person living with Parkinson’s has no increased risk of contracting COVID-19. However, this disease has been shown to pose a greater risk of severity to those aged over 60 years, with an underlying health condition.

For this reason, we recommend you follow the current Government advice on sensible precautions around hygiene and travel restrictions.

Questions?

If you have any queries around COVID-19 and your Parkinson’s, call our Health Team on 1800 644 189.

For medical advice, contact your GP.

We will regularly update this message as the situation progresses. Last updated 30 March 2020.

 

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