World Parkinson’s Day during COVID-19 outbreak

In 2016, The Lancet’s “Global Burden of Disease” report estimated that 6.1 million people were affected by Parkinson’s disease worldwide, with the number set to double by 2050.

Parkinson’s symptoms gradually develop as cells in a specific part of the brain are affected in ways that impact movement. Researchers across the world work on different dimensions of the disease: from seeking to understand the course of the disease and its possible triggers and predisposing factors, to developing treatments. In the realm of care, projects like TeNDER are working to extend the autonomy of patients with Parkinson’s disease, among others.

Every 11 April – on the anniversary of James Parkinson’s birthday, the physician who first identified the disease in 1817 – people worldwide coordinate to raise awareness of the condition and the social, economic and psychological impact it has on individuals and communities. However, efforts to rally support for patients, as well as for research and access to care, happen year-round. There are local, regional, national and global organisations anyone can reach out to for support.

This year, in the context of COVID-19, many awareness-raising campaigns will take place only online. And in addition to these, groups and organisations have mobilised to provide valuable information for patients with Parkinson’s disease and those who surround them. TeNDER consortium partner Asociación Parkinson Madrid (Madrid Parkinson Association), has adapted guidelines in Spanish for those affected; and the European Parkinson’s Disease Association has also gathered important resources in English.



Research contributes to the fight against COVID-19

In the context of COVID-19, TeNDER partners – particularly those who work directly with patients – are taking precautions to ensure the safety of patients, carers, health professionals, and the general population.

Spominčica – Alzheimer Slovenia, Servicio Madrileño de Salud, Asociación Parkinson Madrid, Schön Klinik and the University of Rome – Tor Vergata are currently implementing national and international COVID-19 health protocols (follow the links above to learn more).

While doctors, nurses, and other health professionals and staff are working tirelessly in the frontlines, researchers are working on developing curative and preventive care. Many are also studying behaviour, to help improve socio-economic policies and responses.

Advances in the fight against COVID-19 are aided by international research collaboration: research building on research – its successes and its failures. The European Commission has launched special actions to facilitate such efforts. Meanwhile, The Lancet has reported that research organisations across the world have formed a coalition to support resource-limited settings. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

To learn more about ongoing research worldwide, consult research university websites, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 research database, etc. In addition several news sites and scholarly journals have opened access to COVID-19-related information.


For practical information on the impact of COVID-19 measures and on international guidelines, here are some additional external resources for specific groups; e.g., elderly people, patients with chronic diseases, etc.:


Disclaimer: the information provided in external links does not represent the views of TeNDER.

What is integrated care?

Integrated care is a broad term that describes how health and social care delivery can be linked and/or coordinated to address issues such as fragmentation and miscommunication, among others.

Though there are different approaches to integrated care, they all part from common concerns: from preserving the quality of life of patients to securing access to quality care in the face of rising healthcare costs.

These challenges are happening side-by-side positive developments, including technological advancements and a growing array of medical and nursing specialties.

In this landscape, an integrated care approach helps ease communication between different care providers (physicians, specialists, carers, etc.) and with patients, and it helps align policies and initiatives with day-to-day health and social care delivery. All this is especially important considering that an increasing life expectancy corresponds with a rise in chronic – and often co-occurring (multi-morbidity) – illnesses.

Applying integrated care models

The World Health Organization (2016), has identified different settings where such models are often applied:

  • across health interventions (preventive and curative);
  • between the health and social sectors;
  • in different clinical settings (hospitals, residential treatment centres, day care, urgent care, etc.), as well as non-clinical settings (administrative, etc.); and
  • at policy and management levels.

The TeNDER integrated care ecosystem will operate across a number of these areas, tailoring its approach to manage issues related to multi-morbidity in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, mainly Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Additional sources on integrated care

If you wish to learn more about the general concept of integrated care and its various applications in Europe, here are some external resources you can explore:

World Health Organization (2016). “Integrated Care Models: An overview,” Health Services Delivery Programme – Division of Health Systems and Public Health.

Mariana Dates, et al (2018), “Health system performance assessment – Integrated Care Assessment (2157303 HSPA),” European Commission.

Expert Group on Health Systems Performance Assessment (2017). “Tools and methodologies to assess integrated care in Europe,” European Commission.

Ellen Nolte and Martin McKee, et al (2008). Caring for people with chronic conditions: A health system perspective. New York, Berkshire: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill.

TeNDER project kicks off in Madrid

On 3-4 December 2019, the Polytechnic University of Madrid – TeNDER’s coordinating partner – hosted the project’s first meeting. Partners discussed Work Packages, task allocations, timelines, and key deliverables.

TeNDER is a multi-sectoral project funded by Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. For the next three years, it will develop an integrated care model to manage multi-morbidity in patients with neurodegenerative diseases.

The consortium partners are: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), Servicio Madrileño de Salud (Spain), Asociación Parkinson Madrid (Spain), Università degli Studi di Roma – ‘Tor Vergata’ Hospital (Italy), Schön Klinic Bad Aibling (Germany), Spominčica – Alzheimer Slovenia (Slovenia), Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (Greece), Ubiwhere (Portugal), DataWizard (Italy), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), Maggioli Group (Italy), Elgoline Doo (Slovenia), and the European Hospital and Healthcare Federation (Belgium).

TeNDER’s user partners will conduct 5 large-scale pilots that will target patients who suffer Alzheimer’s and/or Parkinson’s along with cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and/or other chronic illnesses.

In each pilot setting (i.e., in-hospital acute care, at home, and in day- and full-time nursing homes), patients will be monitored using sensors, cameras that capture movement, affective recognition technology, and wristbands that record basic vitals, etc.

Meanwhile, TeNDER’s technical, legal and ethical experts will ensure that all personal data is protected according the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and that rigorous ethical standards are met in order to minimize the risk of unwanted impact on the patient or their family and friends.

The project aims to improve the quality of life of patients and those that surround them. First, by facilitating communication between social and health care professionals, and extending the autonomy of patients that can live independently. Second, by making TeNDER’s model for integrated care fit for widespread implementation, to benefit patients beyond project years.