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Caregiving and Parkinson's: Laying the Groundwork for the Road Ahead

Originally presented on November 19, 2013
Led by Gwyn M. Vernon, M.S.N., R.N., C.R.N.P., and Rhona Johnson, PDF People with Parkinson's Advisory Council

In recognition of November as National Family Caregivers Month

Do you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's? What comes next for you as a loved one and care partner? Find tips from a PD nurse specialist and a care partner during PDF's annual PD ExpertBriefing in recognition of National Family Caregivers Month. This year's online seminar focuses on laying the groundwork for your care partnership within the first few years of diagnosis, so that you and your partner can prepare for the journey ahead.

View this PD ExpertBriefing Now

Download Slides (may take several minutes)

Goals for Participants:

  • Explore common needs of care partners in the early stages of Parkinson's disease.
  • Discuss skills and resources helpful to care partners in early Parkinson's disease.
  • Hear practical suggestions, solutions and lessons learned by other PD care partners, which may help your partnership in the future.


Gwyn M. Vernon, M.S.N., R.N., C.R.N.P.

Gwyn M. Vernon, M.S.N., R.N., C.R.N.P.

Gwyn M. Vernon, M.S.N., R.N., C.R.N.P., is a certified registered nurse practitioner who has been caring for people living with Parkinson's disease since 1982. Ms. Vernon is the National Director of the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program, which she co-developed with Lisette Bunting-Perry, Ph.D., R.N. She served as faculty and a member of the planning committee for PDF's online educational course, Parkinson's Across the Lifespan: A Roadmap for Nurses.

Ms. Vernon is one of the founding members of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Center, Penn Medicine Neuroscience Center at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to direct patient care, she has served as coordinator of the center and clinical researcher in past years.

Author of over 45 peer reviewed articles and chapters on Parkinson's disease and co-author of Comprehensive Nursing Care for Parkinson's Disease, Ms. Vernon speaks nationally and internationally on the topic. Her passion is caring for those with Parkinson's disease and educating future generations of nurses on Parkinson's care.

She obtained a master's degree in community health education and a master's of science in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

Rhona Johnson, PDF People with Parkinson's Advisory Council

Rhona Johnson, PDF People with Parkinson's Advisory Council

Rhona Johnson is a founding member of the Parkinson's Disease Foundation's People with Parkinson's Advisory Council. She was a care partner for her late husband, Bob, who lived with Parkinson's disease for ten years and died in December 2004. In October 2007, she was the first recipient of PDF's Award for Leadership in Caregiving. She authored PDF's fact sheet, The PD Partnership: Tips for People with PD and Their Care Partners.

Ms. Johnson is a longtime spokesperson for care partners and has remained very active in the Parkinson's community. She and her husband worked together to explore resources to improve his quality of life. During their journey, they came to understand the power of giving and receiving support by joining support groups and interacting online with other people with Parkinson's and their care partners.

Today, Ms. Johnson continues her work on a local and national level, sharing her knowledge of how to form a strong partnership following a diagnosis of Parkinson's through the course of the disease, to facing end-of-life issues, with individuals and with groups. She is also a strong advocate for care partner participation in clinical trials.

Her goal is to raise awareness of the disease by educating the broader community and thus make life less daunting for those with Parkinson's and their families and friends.

Ms. Johnson also has a background in educational book publishing in London, Geneva, and New York.

Questions? CEUs?

If you have questions about how to join this PD ExpertBriefing, by phone or online, please see our PD ExpertBriefing FAQ. 

Are you a health care professional seeking continuing education units? CEUs are managed through PDF's sponsorship of the American Society on Aging. The deadline CEU applications has now passed. Please see our Future Online Seminars for additional opportunitiest to earn CEUs.

Other Seminars

Browse our library of past seminars and watch them at any time to learn more about nutrition, the PD pipeline and other topics.

This series has been made possible by educational grants from AbbVie, Inc., and Teva Neuroscience.