Free course to educate healthcare workers about advanced disease

Online course covers symptoms, treatments with goal of improving patient care

Marisa Wexler, MS avatar

by Marisa Wexler, MS |

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The American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) has launched a free online course to help healthcare workers better understand advanced Parkinson’s disease and how to best manage the challenges that come with caring for their patients with the disease.

The educational module, titled Taking Care of the Person with Advanced Parkinson’s Disease, is mainly designed to help those working directly with patients, such as home health aides, nursing home staff, and visiting nurses.

“A key part of APDA’s mission is to help people with Parkinson’s live the best life possible,” Leslie Chambers, president and CEO of the APDA, said in a press release.

“By training and educating those who help care for them, especially as the disease progresses, we know it can make a tremendous difference,” Chambers said. “We are proud and excited to launch this new training course, and to offer it for free so that it is accessible to as many home health aides as possible.”

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Course in 3 sections: motor symptoms, non-motor symptoms, treatments

The course is divided into three sections. The first section provides an overview of the basics of Parkinson’s disease, as well as discussions about motor symptoms like tremor, bradykinesia (slowed movements), rigidity, and balance problems.

The second section focuses on non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as cognitive changes and emotional problems. The third section then focuses on treatments for Parkinson’s, as well as advice for how patients can live well with the disorder.

In each section, experts in the field present information, with a brief quiz recapping the information. After all three sections are done, there is a final certification test covering all the information.

The entire course is designed to take about an hour to complete. Healthcare workers who complete the course will be eligible to receive one continuing education unit as well as a certificate of completion.

“Home health aides and other care professionals play an important role in the [Parkinson’s disease] journey and their ability to handle the increasing symptoms in those they care for can make a tremendous difference in the lives of their patients,” said Rebecca Gilbert, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer at the APDA and author of the course.

“This training course will help them navigate the unique needs of individuals with advanced Parkinson’s and provide a higher quality of care and support, enhancing the well-being and quality of life for those they care for.”