NURSE Maralyn Thomas is on her ward rounds for a special mission.
The Parkinson’s Disease specialist nurse is sweeping through Gorseinon, Morriston and Singleton hospitals to stress the importance of regular medication for sufferers.
Some patients who are admitted to hospital for an unrelated condition worry that they might not be able to take their prescribed drugs as regularly as they would at home.
Now around Parkinson’s Awareness Week, Mrs Thomas is making sure the message gets home.
Her round of hospital visits is acting as a reminder to staff and a reassurance to patients.
For the last 18 years she has been based at the Parkinson’s Centre at Gorseinon.
And it is where she met sufferer Roger Bradley, from Llwynderw, Gorseinon. He was diagnosed with the condition 13 years ago and eventually had to quit his job as a security officer at 3M.
He joined the support group based at the centre - which is attended by over 800 people.
His wife Delphine, who has chaired the branch for the last 11 years, said: “Roger is in Morriston Hospital at the moment having some fluid drained from his lungs. They are marvellous there. I do his medication for him, but Maralyn has been reassuring patients. She is an exceptional nurse.”
Mrs Thomas said: “As this is Parkinson’s Awareness Week, it is a very appropriate time to highlight the difficulties that people with Parkinson’s face on a day to day basis.
“Every hour someone in the UK is told they have Parkinson’s and there are over 127,000 people diagnosed within the UK and of these over 6,000 live in Wales.”
She said taking medication at specific times at home was often more manageable than in hospital.
“As a service we are raising the profile of the care of people with Parkinson’s who are hospitalised to include not only the nursing staff but also linking with pharmacists and other health professions and this has been well received,” she said. “There has been very positive feedback and many patients reporting that they have not experienced difficulties.”