New Murdoch partnership aiding neurological community of WA

February 3, 2017

(L-R) Murdoch's Professor Anne Williams and Dr Brenda Bentley with Kathy McCoy from NCWA

(L-R) Murdoch's Professor Anne Williams and Dr Brenda Bentley with Kathy McCoy from NCWA.

Improving the healthcare for Western Australians with neurological conditions in will be the driving force behind a new partnership between Murdoch University and the Neurological Council of Western Australia (NCWA).

Academics from Murdoch’s School of Health Professions are working with the NCWA to identify and develop a best practice community nursing model for neurological care for metropolitan Perth, which can provide equitable and evidence based support to the neurological community within West Australia.

Diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system are among the leading causes of burden of disease and injury in Australia. In WA, the greatest number of hospitalisations comes from neurological disorders including Dementia, Epilepsy, Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Motor Neuron Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Huntington’s disease.

Last year, the NCWA introduced a new model of community neurological nursing called “Neurocare” into metropolitan Perth. The Neurocare generic community neurological nurse role and model has a focus on equity and accessibility. The emphasis of the model is on the holistic need of the client rather than the diagnostic label and has been operational in regional of WA for a number of years.

Professor Anne Williams from the School of Health Professions said the relationship with the NCWA aims at improving the healthcare for individuals with neurological conditions.

“This important relationship acknowledges the value for industry and academic organisations to work together to make a real difference,” Professor Williams said.

“Community neurological nurses have a skill set and competency level which enables them to support all those with neurological need rather than individual disease groups.

“This is important because there are so many neurological disorders and some people fall through the gap as their condition is not specifically catered for.

“Our project is exploring and describing the implementation of this model in metropolitan Perth with a view to assisting with the development of the model for metropolitan areas.

“If we can develop a program of research which builds on previous research, then we have a real opportunity to make a big difference to neurological care in WA. We anticipate the knowledge that we develop here in WA will have both national and international relevance.”

Kathy McCoy, Executive Director at the NCWA said the two year project seeks to identify a community neurological service model, which can provide equitable and evidence based support to the neurological community within WA.

“The aim and vision is to add to the body of knowledge in this area and to provide decision makers, policy and procurement with information on how best to service a unique State such as WA,” she said.

“NCWA is passionate about becoming engaged in ways we can provide industry and community awareness and leadership to the School of Health Professions.”

Professor Williams hoped this project will lead to a program of research which would provide opportunities for graduate research students in the future.

“The partnership with the NCWA will enable Murdoch students in the future to undertake research projects that are informed by the real-life needs of neurological patients. This will help to ensure that the projects undertaken will make a difference to the health and wellbeing of neurological clients and carers in the community,” she added.

“We hope that this project will be the first of many. It’s also envisaged that the clinical expertise of NCWA will be utilised within our School education at Murdoch, and this will be explored further once the partnership is established.”

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