New technology is helping islanders with Parkinson’s

Smartwatches which enable islanders with Parkinson’s disease to be treated more effectively are being introduced in Guernsey.

In 2021, Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer brought his one man show about living with Parkinson’s to Guernsey and sponsorship from Ravenscroft meant that all proceeds were given to Parkinson’s Guernsey. Using those funds, the local charity is now helping Guernsey Health & Social Care by funding 20 Parkinson’s Kinetigraphs (PKGs), which are wearable devices designed to detect excessive movement, immobility and sleep disturbances.

‘The effects of Parkinson’s change from day to day and for those with the condition it can be difficult to remember everything that has happened. The PKG device replaces anecdotal evidence with accurate data and allows treatment to be fine tuned to improve the quality of life. We are enormously grateful to Ravenscroft for their very generous donation which, together with a contribution from this charity, enables us to improve the support we provide to people with Parkinson’s,’ said Peter Neville, chairman of Parkinson’s Guernsey.

Jane Tullier, a director Parkinson’s Guernsey LBG, who also runs exercise classes for people with the condition, said they were grateful to Mr Mayhew-Archer for a number of reasons.

‘His candour and humour were greatly appreciated by people with Parkinson’s, their carers and the public who attended his show. He made an often taboo subject real and entertaining. But of course the icing on the cake was the amount of money raised which helps us fund the purchase of these devices,’ she said.

‘The PKG contains sensors that monitor the activity of the patient. The data is then analysed by Debbie Robilliard, Guernsey’s Clinical Nurse Specialist. This means that treatment including medication and physiotherapy can be adjusted to meet the patient’s needs more accurately.’

Parkinson’s Guernsey estimates that there are approximately 180 people with the condition in Guernsey and so to benefit as many as possible the watches will be worn for six days to allow evidence to be recorded before being returned to be re-calibrated for the next patient.

Bob Tannahill, portfolio manager at Ravenscroft, who is Mr Mayhew-Archer’s godson, said it was fantastic that the event would have tangible benefits for people in Guernsey living with Parkinson’s.

‘Ravenscroft invests thematically and ageing population and technological advancement feature heavily across a number of our investment funds. It is therefore very fitting that an event which we sponsored as part of our significant community support, is in keeping with the investment trends we talk about so often with our clients.The PKGs showcase how technology is driving innovation in healthcare.’

Photo caption: Smartwatches, which will enable islanders with Parkinson’s to be treated more effectively, have been purchased using money raised from an event sponsored by Ravenscroft where Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer shared a comical view of life with Parkinson’s. Mr Mayhew-Archer’s godson Bob Tannahill, portfolio manager at Ravenscroft (right) is pictured with Peter Neville, chair of Parkinson’s Guernsey LBG, charity director Jane Tullier and Guernsey’s Clinical Nurse Specialist Debbie Robilliard.

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