Impact of the Parkinson's disease medication protocol program on nurses' knowledge and management of Parkinson's disease medicines in acute and aged care settings

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Journal Article
Nurse Education Today, 2013, 33 (5), pp. 458 - 464
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Aims: To determine the impact of a Parkinson's medicine education program on nurses' knowledge and practices in two settings where people with Parkinson's disease are cared for: hospitals and residential aged care facilities. The Parkinson's Disease Medication Protocol Program aimed to increase nurse knowledge of Parkinson's medication administration and safety in care management in order to improve health outcomes, function and well-being for the person with Parkinson's. Background: The ageing demographic of the developed world is concomitant with an increase in chronic disease, with Parkinson's disease being one of the most debilitating and costly. Individually complex medication regimens and unique spectrums of symptoms require disease-specific knowledge in nurses. People with Parkinson's disease admitted to hospitals and/or living in residential aged care facilities often have multiple co-morbidities, rendering care more complex still. Nurse ignorance of Parkinson's disease medicines, their uses, side effects and administration regimens, and safe care practices, can cause unnecessary distress and dysfunction for the person. Method: The two pilot studies employed an eighteen month pre/post-test/follow up design at different time frames, using a questionnaire developed by the study team and an expert panel to evaluate nurses' self-assessed 'perceived' knowledge and actual knowledge of Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's medicines and safe care practices, and satisfaction with the targeted Parkinson's education program. Results/findings: Nurses in the hospital pilot (2006/8) revealed deficits in pre-test perceived and actual knowledge levels, which increased significantly at post-test and follow-up. In contrast, in the residential aged care pilot (2008/10) the nurses had higher perceived and actual (correct) knowledge relevant to experience at pre-test and these levels increased at follow-up. Both pilot study cohorts were very satisfied with the PDMPP as an education and support vehicle in Parkinson's management. Conclusion: These study results concur with the international literature which identifies that without targeted clinical education nurses do not necessarily have sufficient knowledge to effectively manage Parkinson's medicines and avoid unnecessary negative outcomes arising from delays, errors and omissions, nor do they know how to provide safe and effective care for persons with Parkinson's. A well-developed and resourced Parkinson's medicine education program, such as the PDMPP, has the potential to improve deficits in clinical practice. © 2012.
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