Family members of people with Parkinson’s disease are being sought to take party in a study examining their experiences in dealing with health care professionals.

Researchers from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia want to investigate what the partners of people with Parkinson’s think of their interactions with health professionals and the health system.

They hope the information gained will help health care professions to recognise the value of listening to and acknowledging partners’ input.

“Partners of people with Parkinson’s have unique and crucial first-hand knowledge that is essential for providing effective care,” said researcher Meredith Bolland, from the University of Western Australia.

“Yet according to the literature, this valuable information is not always acknowledged or valued by health care professionals.”

Ms Bolland said information about partners’ perceptions of health care engagements could provide more effective care for people with Parkinson’s.

However, she added, there had been a lack of research focusing on the degree to which health professionals listened to partners’ input.

“This study will investigate and describe in detail the nature and interpretations of partners’ experiences of engaging with Parkinson’s health professionals.”

Ms Boland said she welcomes all prospective study volunteers to contact the university about participating.

What’s involved with getting involved?

Ms Bolland, a post-graduate trainee clinical psychologist at UWA’s School of Psychology, is seeking up to 30 volunteers who live in Perth and who are partners of people with Parkinson’s.

The volunteers will take part in comprehensive, confidential interviews about their experiences of dealing with health professionals.

Interviews will be arranged at a mutually acceptable time and place. This may include interviews at UWA or home visits by the researcher.

The interviews, expected to take 30-60 minutes, will be recorded and analysed for the meanings of the individuals’ experiences.

Researchers may follow up with volunteers six-12 months later to check their interpretations.

People interested in participating should contact Meredith Bolland on 0414 511 037.

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