The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have conditionally recommended the use of five wearable technologies to monitor the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The remote monitoring devices will be made available to the NHS to improve the health and quality of life of patients, Parkinson’s UK reports.
Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease that affects about 145,000 people in the UK. Symptoms usually develop gradually, over months or even years. The most common symptoms include slowness of movement, stiffness of the muscles, and tremor.
These may be accompanied by depression and anxiety, insomnia, and problems with balance and memory. Most people are over the age of 50 when they first begin to experience symptoms. The condition is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a particular part of the brain, although the exact trigger for this process is unknown.
The new wearable technology devices will allow clinicians to remotely monitor patient’s symptoms, reducing the number of medical appointments they need to attend and picking up on any issues earlier than would normally be the case. However they will be used to supplement in-person support, rather than to replace it.
NICE have published the reasons for their conditional recommendation of use of the devices. The report states: “Monitoring symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is important to help clinicians make decisions about a person’s care. But this can be difficult in current practice because symptoms can come and go and may be difficult to remember or describe.”
It continues: “Review appointments may also be infrequent. Sometimes people with Parkinson’s disease may struggle to accurately assess their symptoms, and how severe they think they are may differ from the view of their carer (care partner). More objective monitoring of symptoms is therefore an unmet need.”
“Using these devices could help clinicians to better determine when changes to treatment are needed. This may help better manage symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease and their carers.”
The charity Parkinson’s UK has been an advocate for the wearable devices, and funded a trial use of the devices known as a Personal KinetiGraph (PKG) at Plymouth University Hospital. The device was positively reviewed by patients, who were able to have a more active role in managing their symptoms.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but with the right treatments, many people can continue to live independently or with some help at home. Depending on the individual’s financial circumstances, they may be able to access grants towards a wide range of care and support services.
These include household gadgets that make the everyday tasks of living easier, such as ergonomic kitchen implements and personal alarm systems. Help is also available for walking aids and wheelchairs, and for home adaptations such as stair lifts, ramps, grab rails, and a walk in bath and shower.
If you are interested in finding out more information about home adaptations, call us on 01491 411041 or visit our website.