Govt must act before ‘tidal wave’ hits nursing homes

A Sydney-based Parkinson’s disease expert says rates are expected to jump 80% during the next 20 years because of Australia’s ageing population.

Currently 64,000 people have the progressive brain disease that causes uncontrollable tremors, loss of movement and bowel and bladder problems.

Associate Professor Simon Lewis from the University of Sydney presented new research on the benefits of community-based Parkinson’s nurses at a nursing conference on the Gold Coast earlier this month.

Professor Lewis says Australia must adopt the UK approach of employing the specialist nurses or pay the price in nursing home care costs.

“You have to have a way of addressing this tidal wave of patients who are coming over the next 20 years,” he told AAP.

His research indicates that access to specialist nurses in the community can stave off the need for nursing home accommodation.

He compared the