Parkinson's Disease Comprehensive Care Clinic
Parkinson’s Disease is a complex disorder. Although it is best known for the motor symptoms tremor, muscle stiffness, slowness and walking difficulties, there are many other issues that can be troublesome including depression, sleep disorders, memory loss and speech problems. Patients can present with varied combinations of these features and with different levels of severity. The interventions needed for comprehensive care are wide-ranging, and the number of specialists involved often necessitates a daunting schedule of appointments for patients and caregivers to navigate. In addition to a movement disorders neurologist, patients with PD often need the help of a psychiatrist, neuropsychologist, physical therapist, geriatrician, sleep specialist, speech therapist, social worker, and occupational therapist, among others.
“Arranging all the specialists a person with PD really should see could take six months to a year to schedule appointments and get a plan in place,” says Stewart Factor, Vance Lanier Chair of Neurology. “Meanwhile, who knows how much the disease has progressed?” As the Emory team began making plans for a comprehensive approach to PD, Atlanta resident Merrie Boone was dealing with her own diagnosis of the disease. She and her husband, Dan, had visited centers all over the country to find the right treatment fit for her, but a consultation with a California specialist led them somewhere unexpected—back home. “We had flown to California to find out that the best care was in our own backyard,” says Dan Boone.
Not only did Merrie Boone become a patient at Emory, but the Dan and Merrie Boone Foundation also is helping Emory realize its vision for PD care. The Boones pledged funds to accelerate Emory’s development of a comprehensive center. This Center enables patients to see all the specialists they need over the course of 2 days. The objective is to bring together multi-disciplinary expertise to provide comprehensive care in a time span and setting optimal for rapid diagnosis and manageable for patients and their caregivers. During the 2 days the patient and caregiver meet with the following departments: Sleep medicine, Psychiatry, Medical evaluation, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Neuropsychology, Physical Therapy, Social Services and Movement Disorders Neurology
For the Boones, the goal was simple. “We wanted to do something that improved the patient experience and their overall quality of life,” Dan Boone says. “We wanted to make an immediate but lasting impact.”
Sadly, after a valiant battle with Parkinson’s disease Mrs. Virginia Meredith “Merrie” Boone, age 71, died at home in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, July 14, 2014.
The Center is grateful for Mrs. Boone’s legacy that motivates us to continue the important daily work that makes an impact for all.