World Parkinson Coalition Opens Care Partner Online Series on April 28

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by Mary Chapman |

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In observance of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, the World Parkinson Coalition is launching its first WPC Care Partner Virtual Panel Series to highlight and address caregiver challenges.

The four-part online series, offering support and guidance to caregivers and family members, begins on Tuesday, April 28. Presenters include experts in fields such as social work, nursing, and neurology. Each panel will also feature a presentation by a patient and their care partner, as well as tips and advice.

This webinar series grew from the most recent World Parkinson Congress (WPC). Founded and led by the coalition, the triennial Congress aims to advance a comprehensive approach to treating people with Parkinson’s disease by bringing together members of the entire PD community. The event offers discussion of the latest PD scientific discoveries, medical practices, and caregiver initiatives.

WPC’s next international interdisciplinary forum — set for June 7–10, 2022, in Barcelona — is expected to host some 4,500 delegates from more than 60 countries.

Patients and caregivers help design the WPC program, which includes a Care Partner Lounge where caregivers can gather to connect, learn from each other, and relax. After the 2019 Congress, organizers heard from care partners globally who wished to joined the Lounge, but were not able to travel. That feedback resulted in the online series.

“While the World Parkinson Congress is a scientific meeting, we pay close attention to the needs of people with Parkinson’s and care partners since we understand the importance of quality of life while living daily with PD,” said Elizabeth Pollard, WPC executive director, in a press release.

“At each World Parkinson Congress, we host a room called the Care Partner Lounge with small group discussion and support sessions around caregiving that address many of the issues we’ll be discussing in this virtual panel series.”

All webinars begin at 3 p.m. EST. Topics being addressed are:

  • April 28: “Medication Management and the Role of the Care Partner.” Focus here is on how to work together to ensure that medication management is a regular discussion and normal part of the Parkinson’s experience.
  • July 9: “Mental Health and Parkinson’s.” This is about maintaining balance and a healthy relationship when learning about, discussing, and treating symptoms affecting cognition. It’s also about honoring and maintaining the relationship throughout the PD journey.
  • Sept. 14: “Cognition, Caring, and Coping.” Focus is on how to maintain a healthy relationship when discussing, preparing for, and addressing mental health challenges.
  • Dec. 9: “Wellness: Approaches Beyond Medication.” This is about how the patient and caregiver can work together as partners.

“Being a part of this new virtual Care Partner Lounge panel series is exciting, as it is an expansion of a very well-received program at the WPC,” said Elaine Book, MSW, Lounge creator and program committee member.

“I always look forward to planning new offerings … and am pleased we can bring the community together virtually in this way to highlight care partner challenges and reach and support an even broader audience,” Book added. “Care partners experience their own unique journey, and this series of virtual panels is designed to support them along the way. No one should feel alone in their Parkinson’s journey.”

Go here to register or for more information. Some registration questions are optional. The names of those who complete all questions will be added to a raffle to win free registration to the 2022 Congress.

Parkinson’s is believed to affect nearly 1 million U.S. residents, and 10 million individuals globally.

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