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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Descriptions and prescriptions : healthcare professionals consider care for people with Parkinson's Gray, Jane Bernadette


Healthcare professionals are at the frontline intersection of the nation’s healthcare system and the healthcare of people with Parkinson’s. With increasing numbers of people with Parkinson’s, and finite healthcare dollars, what are the work experiences of care of healthcare professionals working with people with Parkinson’s? In this participatory inquiry, narratives of work experiences of care of six healthcare professionals of people with Parkinson’s were elicited. The healthcare professionals included a general practitioner, a Parkinson’s specialist neurologist, a gastroenterologist, a nurse, a social worker, and a physiotherapist. The objective of the inquiry was to describe and understand the work experiences of these healthcare professionals through their descriptions of work experiences of care and their prescriptions for ideal work experiences of care. The interviews with the healthcare professionals were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed. The theoretical framing of the empirical material outlined medicalization and medical frameworks, a ‘whole person’ approach, and theories of care. Three overlapping primary themes emerged from the interviews which were verified by both the literature review and personal reflections. Firstly, Parkinson’s is a difficult, complex and multifaceted disorder; secondly, due to the complexity of this disorder, a multidisciplinary team approach by healthcare professionals is needed; and thirdly, more funding or a change in organization of funding, is needed in order to support this model of healthcare. In describing multidisciplinary care, these healthcare professionals questioned the current funding approach of the healthcare system. This was a noteworthy finding of this inquiry. Metaphors for present and ideal work experiences of care as given by the healthcare professionals worked to bridge the stated quantitative present healthcare situation of increasing numbers of people with Parkinson’s and finite healthcare dollars, and the qualitative descriptions of present and ideal work experiences of care of healthcare professionals of people with Parkinson’s. Implications for further inquiry included determining effectiveness and costs of multidisciplinary care for people with Parkinson’s, and investigating models of care for people with Parkinson’s as suggested by the healthcare professionals in the inquiry.

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