National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships
Parkinson’s Foundation Partnership
The Veterans Affairs (VA) established a partnership between the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Parkinson’s Foundation in 2020 to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for Veterans living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). The partnership increases awareness of and access to the resources and services available through VHA Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers (PADRECCs) and their Consortium Centers. The VHA estimates approximately 110,000 Veterans are living with PD. Parkinson disease is a disorder of the central nervous system. The symptoms of PD are both movement-related, such as tremors and difficulties with balance, and nonmovement-related that impact mental health, cognition, and sleep.
Randolph Moler, Health Administration Program (HAP) analyst and licensed clinical social worker, stated, “As part of this partnership, VA staff members have access to additional education and training on disease management. Over the last year, VHA and the Parkinson’s Foundation have teamed up to offer several national events and numerous regional events nationwide for Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors on topics ranging from mobility and driving to mental health.”
Gretchen Glenn, Philadelphia VA PADRECC Social Worker, Associate Director of Education and National VA PD Consortium Education Subcommittee Chairperson, stated, “The partnership aims to provide more outreach and education to our Veterans and their care partners about Parkinson's, the care available through the VA system, and provide education opportunities, from the Parkinson's Foundation to our VA providers to expand their expertise in Parkinson's Disease.” This education augments the training offered within VHA and allows for professional collaboration between VHA and Parkinson’s Foundation.
The partnership also aims to improve Veterans’ service coordination and navigation. The Parkinson’s Foundation and VHA created an FAQ Guide for Veterans with PD and their care partners. This guide explains the fundamentals of PD, the connection between military service and PD, and how Veterans can best access PD care. For answers to their PD questions, Veterans, care partners and VA professionals can also call the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636). As part of the partnership, Helpline staff received VHA training on supporting the Veteran community.
One of the Parkinson Foundation’s largest annual events is “Moving Day” (http://www.movingdaywalk.org/). Moving Day is an inspiring and empowering fundraising event that unites people around the country living with Parkinson’s disease, their care partners, and their loved ones to move for PD.
Sheera Rosenfeld, Parkinson’s Foundation Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, added, “Moving Day is the Foundation’s national walk program that takes place in 48 cities across the country. We call it Moving Day because it's a celebration of movement. Exercise has been proven to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease and at every single walk event that we have, not only do we do a walk together, but we also do a series of exercise demonstration to really promote exercise in the lives of people with PD.”
Elizabeth Rhodus, Parkinson's Foundation National Manager of Signature Events, continued, “We kick off our fall season on September 17, in Buffalo, New York. The fall season runs through mid-November and includes 20 in-person walks across various cities that people can participate in. People can also participate virtually through our Moving Day @ Home program (http://www.movingdayathome.org/). Moving Day @ Home allows participants to connect and engage from anywhere.”
For more information about Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day events in your state/local area see: http://www.movingdaywalk.org/. Moving Day events have raised over $35 million to help improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s and brought more than 161,600 participants together.
For more information on HAP’s initiatives and partnerships, please visit: https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPARTNERSHIPS/index.asp
For more information on the PADRECC, please visit: https://www.parkinsons.va.gov/
Posted September 19, 2022