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Involving Patients in the Conversation About Parkinson Disease Treatment Approaches: Jill Farmer, DO, MPH

As the individualized needs of patients are further prioritized in Parkinson disease care, the director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Program at Global Neuroscience Institute shared her perspective on shared decision-making. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“My patients have taught me the power of persistence. There are times when you think you have the best treatment strategy planned out, and you’re building on your experience and how you’ve utilized these things in the past, and then the patient will throw you a curveball and say, ‘I hear what you’re saying, but I’d like to do x, y, and z,’ and they’ll challenge you in some way to make it about them—[and] not in a selfish or mean way, by any stretch of the imagination.”

As Jill Farmer, DO, MPH, assistant professor of neurology, and director, Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Program, Global Neuroscience Institute, and many other experts in Parkinson disease (PD) care have noted, there is a saying that’s commonly heard in PD circles: if you’ve seen one patient with PD, you’ve seen one patient with PD.

As PD, among other neurologic diseases, is very heterogeneous, it can vary greatly from patient to patient, and because of this, there is a great need for patient-centered care to be the approach. This is part of what has driven the shared decision-making revolution in neurologic medicine in the past several years, and the refocus on the importance of patient-reported outcomes for studies and trials. Although, with rapid therapeutic advances outpacing the ability to educate physicians and clinicians on their best options, there have been challenges in promoting the best care model possible for patients.

This year, the PMD Alliance, in collaboration with Georgetown University Hospital, put on the first annual Advanced Therapeutics in Movement and Related Disorders (ATMRD) Congress in Washington, DC, June 17-19, 2022, as an attempt to address this need. The meeting was open to all clinicians and care team members, with a specific focus on advanced practice providers (APPs) and other nonphysician individuals—a reflection of the real-world interdisciplinary care that occurs for these patients.

At the meeting, Farmer spoke with the PMD Alliance about the importance of including patients and their needs in the conversations about treatment and management. Additionally, she offered some advice based on what she’s learned from her patients over the course of her career treating PD in academia and private practice and pointed to the reasons why this area of specialization should attract younger clinicians.

Click here for more coverage of ATMRD 2022.