For the last few months, Mara and I have been discussing changing neurologists with the idea of being seen by a Movement Disorder Specialist (MDS). I was seen by a MDS when we went to U of FL last year we felt that it was too far of a drive for regular appointments. The Vanderbilt Movement Disorder Clinic in Nashville is also an National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) Center of Excellence, they conduct a lot of Parkinson’s research and it is a two hour drive instead of ten, so we decided that was where I would go. So this week I met with Dr. Thomas Davis, a MDS and clinical researcher and Director of the Vanderbilt Movement Disorder Clinic. It was a very positive experience and we were quite impressed with Dr Davis and the Vanderbilt Movement Disorder Clinic staff.
After a simple check in process that took all of 5 minutes and only required my electronic signature on the usual forms, that’s right, I did not have to fill out any health history forms, who to contact, etc.! I had barely sat down when a nurse called me into an interview room where she took my BP, weight, and medical history once again without me having to fill out a form! She then took me to the examination room where we met Dr. Davis.
During the meeting with Dr Davis we discussed my PD history, what medication I was on and how it was working, what other symptoms I was having plus he performed the usual PD tests, finger and toe tapping, walking, etc. He also tested my cognitive skills and once again I passed! We then discussed my medication routine and he recommended I start taking levadopa/cardidopa along with a reduced dose of Mirapex four times a day instead of three. We were happy with this recommendation as it seemed the Mirapex has not been as effective in reducing my rigidity and I am taking the maximum dose. He also noted that exercise is still the best prescription for PwP and reducing the rigidity and other symptoms will allow me to up the exercise routine. The appointment lasted about 50 minutes and we came away feeling that he and the staff cared about me as a person and a patient and we had made the right decision to transfer to Dr Davis.
We also met with Kelly Arney, research outreach coordinator, whom I had been in contact with last year about a clinical trial sponsored by NPF to track the effects of treatment. I did not qualify then because the trial required participants to be seen by the Clinic, but now that I am a patient, I should be able to participate beginning with my next visit at the end of April. We also discussed upcoming clinical trials with both Dr Davis and Kelly and they will contact me if I meet the qualifications.
When I checked out, they had me sign up for access to their electronic health record system which gives me access to all of my records and a way to email Dr Davis. Again the process was simple and an employee walked me though the sign up at a terminal in the waiting area, then gave me full access to the system.
The NIH defines patient-centered care as follows: “health care that establishes a partnership among practitioners, patients, and their families (when appropriate) to ensure that decisions respect patients’ wants, needs and preferences and solicit patients’ input on the education and support they need to make decisions and participate in their own care.” The care we received at the Vanderbilt Medical Center Movement Disorder Clinic certainly fit the NIH definition.
And the positive experiences continued because Friday we checked into our ‘home away from home’ a villa on Siesta Key! Yes that’s right, we are at the BEACH! We will be attending a Parkinson’s symposium on Saturday and I also plan to sign up for the Big and Loud program while we are here so I will have plenty to blog about next time. Until then don’t forget to sign up for the Fox Trial Finder, we all have a stake in finding a cure.
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius