It is certainly a vexing question, and so many external events are even more challenging, climate change, supply chain issues, economic collapse and so on.
I have been relying on technology a lot to compensate for the problems brought on by Parkinson’s – you see I am smart, but as it turns out, that is flawed thinking.
I use an Amazon Echo Show a lot. It helps to make the long sleepless nights, another gift from Parkinson’s, almost bearable. There are so many interesting radio programs on the overnight radio. And I don’t have to fiddle in the dark with shaky hand, I simply ask Alexa to play xxx and she does it.
She also remembers when I ask her to set an alarm for my medication and many other chores that have become difficult. By listening to which program was playing I could tell the time without looking but simply asking what is the time? she would respond quite smartly. At least normally … last night she said she was trying to connect… Of course we had the snow yesterday and the Internet was down!
Limitations of Technology
Technology has its limitations and one has to take that into consideration when planning to use technology in your care plans.
Some potential vulnerabilities are:
subject subsystems failing like the power grid and or the internet and phone network failing, shortage of key components to the supply chain problems, and the stress caused by already overloaded staff now having to support complex technical systems.
One needs to recognize that these threats exist and do a proper risk analysis. One can design work arounds for most issues identified and even what to do for catastrophic failures like when the big earthquake finally comes to British Columbia (then we work with the emergency folks because the water will also be compromised.
Technologies of Interest
The training provided in the guide (Parkinson’s 101) while excellent in its scope and depth ir is written using a newsmagazine style and assumes a certain sophistication to absorb and make sense of. However Parkinson’s is not particular who it attacks. The majority of our residents speak languages other than English and certainly not avid readers of Newsweek or the Financial Mail. There would be great benefit in redoing the Parkinson’s 101 as on-line video courses. This would make it possible to cater for different languages using captions or even voice overs in different languages. We could also adapt the content to a broader range of listener education and include more up to date information.
These courses could be used for staff continuing education and onboarding training and can be used to provide training for the staff responsible for systems maintenance.
It would be useful to have explanations of key concepts online as they can be clarified more easily when using graphics and/or animations. So they would understand better the need for filling in all these forms.
The online system could also be used for keeping the records.
3 Symptom AI
A major problem for people who think they have Parkinson’s is getting a referral to an appropriate specialist. In principle the system could be used to assist the local champion and physician to analyze a residents symptoms so as to fill in the forms correctly and potentially in the face of having to deny a resident care due to the shortage of specialists i.e. long wait times, the local doctor could start the process and verify it later.
This can be as easy as using video of symptoms. There is one neurologist who has produced a series of videos, in Spanish, demonstrating for example the different types of tremor (regular tremor compared to Parkinson’s rolling pin tremor). It would be easy to provide voice over in other languages. One would have to ask the doctor’s permission but they would be easy to duplicate.
More complex approaches could be built using machine learning using the information in the New Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Book. That would require government funding and a collaboration agreement with the author Dr Ahlskog.
4 Online Specialist Support
Some of the needed support needed by people with Parkinson’s can be included online such as voice therapy and exercise regimes, and more…