Groundbreaking virtual reality session gives firsthand insight into the daily challenges of living with Parkinson’s at WSLHD’s Parkinson’s Health Education Day

During Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) partnered with Parkinson’s NSW to host an empowering Health Education Day at Westmead Hospital, aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of the debilitating condition.

The Parkinson’s Health Education Day saw a panel of experts – including physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists and dietitians –  share invaluable strategies for managing Parkinson’s.

A key highlight from the event was a groundbreaking virtual reality (VR) session, which allowed carers to gain firsthand insight into the daily challenges of living with Parkinson’s. 

In an interview with The Pulse, WSLHD Nurse Practitioner Movement Disorders David Tsui said, “Parkinson’s affects the family or carers just as much as it does the patient with Parkinson’s”.

The idea of using virtual reality programs was for carers to experience what it would be like for their loved ones and what they experience day to day. 

David Tsui

The VR program provided a first-person experience of what it would be like to have tremors causing inability to press a lift button, and walking difficulties causing inability to walk out of a lift.  

Audience members were also captivated with a Tai Chi demonstration by two masters from the Australian Academy of Tai Chi, shedding light on the therapeutic benefits of the ancient practice.

David explains, “there is high level research evidence that proves that Tai Chi is beneficial to people with Parkinson’s through improved walking, balance and mood”. 

Teaming up with Parkinson’s’ NSW allowed WSLHD to bring this free educational event to patients and carers all in one day, as David Tsu explains: “It is important that Local Health Districts continue to partner with non-profit organisations like Parkinson’s NSW, to understand the needs of our clients, partner with our consumers and provide both care and patient focused health education to maximise their quality of life”.  

This event was a day of immersive learning, empathy and an opportunity for carers, patients and staff to unite in understanding and awareness of support to one another.

The day left participants feeling empowered and united in their commitment to supporting one another on this journey.

David Tsui

To learn more about Parkinson’s visit https://www.parkinsonsnsw.org.au/