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Information, health & social needs of older, disabled people (parkinson's disease) and their carers.

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Need-based approach to care for the disabled

Special efforts focusing on the approach and services of caregivers and health professionals have been made in order to help provide a better quality of life for people with disabilities.

Health

Unfortunately people with disabilities do not always receive the information and health and social care required. This may occur because perception by professionals doesn't necessarily meet the actual needs. Therefore the INFOPARK project sought to resolve this issue with a complete understanding of the nature of a disabling illness through empirical research as well as personal views and experiences. The aim was to improve patient quality of life through more independence. The research was conducted on 500 elderly (and their lay carers) with varying physical, mental and social disabilities, cultural, social and economic backgrounds. The views gathered were then compared to those of 700 professionals in seven European countries. In fact, a critical mass of knowledge was obtained which can be used for the support, services and care of the disabled. More specifically, interviews were conducted with people suffering from Parkinson's disease and their family caregivers. Additionally there were focus group discussions with 291 health and social care professionals. There were many positive outcomes from these efforts. Respondents found practical advice most helpful and the favoured approach was one-on-one interactions with a specialist doctor who was able to explain information in a clear straightforward manner. Furthermore opening the channels of communication was deemed a recognisably positive step toward future progress.

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