Annelien Duits

Huntington Partner in Balance: online self-management for partners/caregivers of persons with Huntington Disease (HD)

Clinical neuropsychologist at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology of Maastricht UMC+

Annelien Duits is gepromoveerd in 1998 aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en sinds 1999 als geregistreerd klinisch neuropsycholoog werkzaam op de afdeling Medische Psychologie van het Maastricht UMC+. Naast de werkzaamheden in de zorg is ze als UHD verbonden aan de School for Mental Health & Neurosciences (MHeNs) van de Universiteit Maastricht (UM). Thema’s in haar wetenschappelijk onderzoek zijn gedrag en cognitie enerzijds en psychosociale interventies anderzijds van patiënten met bewegingsstoornissen en in het bijzonder patiënten met de ziekte van Parkinson. Verder is ze betrokken bij het onderwijs binnen de UM, het ParkinsonNet en het postdoctoraal onderwijs in het kader van de beroepsopleidingen voor BIG-psychologen. Tenslotte is ze lid van de Ledenraad van het NIP , penningmeester van de Stichting Neuropsychologie Nederland, lid van de Parkinson Advies Raad van de Parkinson Vereniging en lid van de Landelijke Vereniging voor Parkinson Onderzoekers binnen de Alliantie Parkinson Nederland.

Annelien Duits is a clinical neuropsychologist who started her postdoctoral career with a PhD track at the Erasmus University Rotterdam (1998). Since 1999, she works as a clinical neuropsychologist in the Maastricht University Medical Centre (MUMC+) and as an associate professor in the School for Mental Health & Neurosciences (MHeNS) from the Maastricht University. The scope of her research activities is on cognition and behaviour in movement disorders, in particular Parkinson’s Disease. Furthermore, she is involved in (postgraduate) education and board member of the members council of the Dutch Institute for Psychologists, the Parkinson's Advisory Board of the Dutch Parkinson's Association and the Dutch Alliance of Parkinson’s Disease.

Abstract | Huntington Partner in Balance: online self-management for partners/caregivers of persons with Huntington Disease (HD)
Overburdening caregivers of HD patients can lead to anxiety and depression and ultimately to inability to maintain their informal role in treatment. Postponing formal home care and avoiding early admission to a nursing home is very cost-effective. It is therefore of great importance to preventively increase the resilience of caregivers and in this way prevent overloading at a later stage of the care process. The Alzheimer Centre Limburg (ACL) has developed the blended online self-management program 'Partner in Balance' (PiB) to teach relatives of people with dementia skills to prevent overburdening at a later stage. PiB is a personalized, modular program with video clips (partners sharing experiences), psycho-education, reflective assignments and setting personal goals. The ease of following the program online at home, under the guidance of a personal coach, was experienced as very positive. The modular design of PiB and the online environment provide an excellent infrastructure to further develop PiB into a version for caregivers of people with various neurodegenerative disorders, e.g., PD. Especially relatives of HD patients have a high load of stress and concerns and would therefore benefit particularly from such a program. In this presentation we will demonstrate PiB and share the first results of its development into a HD version.