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Funded research projects

Parkinson's Victoria has recently funded research projects that focus on specific models of best practice care and therapy development, and has provided support for the Victorian Brain Bank Network.

Movement Disorder Nurse Project - Goulburn Valley Health region

Partnering with Goulburn Valley Health and the Shepparton Parkinson’s Peer Support Group, the recently completed two-year research project in the Goulburn Valley region evaluated the benefits of a movement disorder nurse in regional areas. 

The project evaluation found the Movement Disorder Nurse model to be highly valued and responsive to the needs of the rural community. The service provided support for people with Parkinson’s and their carers, and had a positive impact on their quality of life and confidence in managing the condition.

Learn more about the success of the Movement Disorder Nurse Project.

Deloitte Access Economics report 

Written by Deloitte Access Economics, Living with Parkinson’s Disease: An updated economic analysis 2014, highlights the significant growth in health system costs, productivity loss, and the financial burden for people living with Parkinson’s.

Key findings of the Deloitte Access Economics report include:

  • Parkinson's costs the Australian community almost $10 billion each year. This figure has almost doubled since 2005
  • Since 2005, there's been an increase of 103 percent in direct financial costs of Parkinson's ($1.1 billion) and an increase of 42 percent ($8.9 billion) in the burden of disease
  • Parkinson's remains one of the most prevalent neurodegenerative conditions in Australia. Nearly 70,000 people in Australia are living with Parkinson's - a dramatic increase of 27 percent in just nine years
  • More than 11,500 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's every year
  • It is estimated that by 2034, more than 123,000 people will be living with Parkinson’s

The new report outlines cost effective interventions to assist people living with Parkinson's to achieve a better quality of life, while simultaneously reducing the cost of this condition to the community. It also provides practical strategies for reducing direct health care costs. This includes avoiding unnecessary hospital and aged care admissions, and decreasing lengths of stay and medical specialist consultations.

To reduce the costs of Parkinson's to the community, Parkinson's Australia - the national peak body representing the needs of people living with Parkinson’s, their families and carers - is advocating for the Federal and state governments to commit to a National Action Plan. This plan will include:

  • Recognition of Parkinson’s as a National Health Priority Area
  • Investment in better care and support for people living with Parkinson’s through access to Parkinson’s Nurse Specialists and equitable access to medications and therapies
  • Investment in upskilling the workforce to enable timely diagnosis, better care and support of people living with Parkinson’s
  • Investment and capacity building in Parkinson’s research

Read the full Deloitte Access Economics report

Victorian Brain Bank Network  

Parkinson’s Victoria continues to invest in the Victorian Brainbank Network (VBBN) to ensure continued collection and donation of brains and tissue.  The VBBN aims to link clinicians, neuropathologists and research scientists to better understand the cause of Parkinson’s.

In the last year, the VBBN collected, process and stored 72 new brain donations, with 22 cased neuropathologically confirmed as Parkinson’s or Atypical Parkinson’s. Six Australian and international research projects were granted access to enable further understanding of these conditions.

Essence Research Project 

Funded in conjunction with Monash University, this project was one of the first global projects to investigate the impact of Mindfulness techniques and Parkinson’s.  

Highlights of the research included: 

  • Participants improved their ability to manage stress 
  • There was a slight increase in depression in participants (thought to be related to an increased awareness of the illness)
  • Increased mindfulness in participants 
  • Increased ability to complete daily living activities 

Narrative from participants demonstrated their enjoyment in activities related to the project and that it improved understanding and management of their condition. 

Physiotherapy practice for Parkinson’s Research Project 

It has been recognised that current physiotherapy practice in Australian does not appear to be keeping pace with evidence based practice in Europe and the United States.

The aim of this research project is to develop a science led, evidence based health professional education program for physiotherapists treating people with Parkinson’s and to implement the program for physiotherapists in Victoria. 

InSearch: Parkinson's Research Series

With the aim of strengthening research in Australia, Parkinson’s Victoria launched a series of research lectures in partnership with the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health on World Parkinson’s Day 2015. The InSearch Research series will continue in 2016.