Preparing for being hospitalized with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can often be overlooked and having no plan in place for when you or a loved one with PD is hospitalized can often cause complications in care. So, we thought we would go over a few ways that you can minimize the complications that can arise when hospitalized with PD.
Here are 5 things you can do now to prepare in the unfortunate event that you are or someone you love with PD is hospitalized.
Bring a list of all current medications
One of the most important things you can do is keep a list of your current medications (including the exact doses and the time at which you take each medication). This list will not only aid the hospital staff in getting a better picture of your overall health but most importantly it will alert the staff to when you should be taking your medication and to what dosages. It is a good idea to keep this list in your wallet/purse or on your phone as hospitalizations could be sudden and you may not be able to grab your list of medications if it is not on your person.
Bring your current PD medications
While having a list of all medications you take and dosages will be helpful for doctors to better ascertain your current health, actually bringing in your PD medicine is critical. This is because not all hospitals will have the PD medication you currently take on hand, so having your medication with you just in case they don’t can help prevent a lot of complications.
Facilitate communication between health care providers
When you are hospitalized it is a good idea to call your movement disorder specialist or primary care physician and have them speak with the hospital staff. This way your physician can provide additional information to the hospital staff so that the likelihood of medication or treatment errors can be minimized. So, make sure that you have your doctor’s contact information readily available. During your next visit, you can even ask your primary physician how you can most efficiently reach them if you are hospitalized.
Remind medical staff about the importance of giving medication on time
Another potential pitfall when you are hospitalized with PD is the inconsistency of which you may be given your prescribed Parkinson’s medications. There is a common hospital policy of allowing a 1-2 hour time window for medication administration and for PD patients who are experiencing “motor” or “non-motor” fluctuations this can cause complications. So, make sure to make the medical staff aware that medication dosages and timings need to be exact. For more information on the importance of taking PD medications on time click here.
Being forced to lay down in a hospital bed for multiple hours a day can aggravate the symptoms of PD. That’s why it is important to get out of bed (if allowed by the doctor) and do some activities such as walking, stretching or light seated exercises. It’s also a good idea to ask for any kind of physical therapy that they might offer at the hospital so you can stay active.
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Want more advice on what to do when hospitalized with Parkinson’s
A few months back Dr. Stephen Grill spoke at one of our Parkinson’s Pointers Lectures and discussed hospitalization in regards to Parkinson’s. You can review the slides from his lecture in the link below for additional information.