Don't wait for an emergency to get the information together you need for your care.
These helpful tips and our Hospital Worksheet will help you stay safe and get the best care.
Before your hospital visit
Record and organize your information for emergencies.
- The first step is to have your important medical information available and recorded in a convenient form to help your hospital team
- Print and complete the Hospital Worksheet
- Summarizes the information most helpful to your medical team
- Provide your doctors, nurses and therapists with crucial information about your PD and its treatment. have helpful tips for your doctors, nurses and therapists.
- Educates your hospital team about you and Parkinson’s disease.
During your hospital visit
Advocate for accurate medicine delivery.
- Bring a complete list of your medicines, dosage and the time of day that you take them.
- Be sure your hospital care team understands that Sinemet, Stalevo or carbidopa/levodopa must be given at the exact time that it is ordered.
- Ask if you or your family can keep this medicine at your bedside if you are not getting it on time.
- Parcopa or dissolvable carbidopa/levodopa can be used if you are not able to swallow or eat.
Educate your medical team about your symptoms.
- Describe your symptoms to your care team as they may not be familiar with such problems as dyskinesia, on-off motor fluctuations and freezing of gaitt.
- Be sure to let your care team know how your movement and abilities change with yourmedicine on or medicine off state.
- This also helps them understand why it is so important for you to get your medicines on time.
Advocate for the services you need.
Your motor symptoms can worsen in the setting of a medical illness so you may not be able to move as well and may find some symptoms such as tremor, dyskinesia, and freezing of gait can increase in the hospital. In a similar fashion, confusion and hallucinations can occur or worsen in the setting of medical stress or as a result of new medicines such as narcotics for pain, or sedatives for sleep and anxiety or agitation.
- Appoint someone to be your advocate while in the hospital.
- Ask for physical therapy, occupational therapy, swallowing evaluation or speech therapy consult as your illness and prolonged bed rest can weaken your movements and affect daily activities.
- Ask to see a social worker especially if you have questions about community resources, special needs after discharge or changes in living arrangement. Chaplain services are available in most hospitals and available to support you no matter what your spiritual needs or belief.
After your hospital visit
- Rehabilitation. Ask your doctor for rehabilitation after discharge as you may be weaker due to your illness. The following options may be available depending on your condition:
- Inpatient (hospital based) rehabilitation
- Skilled rehabilitation for extended care (usually in nursing homes)
- Home health services that may include social work, nursing, dietary or rehabilitation services.
- Outpatient rehabilitation
- Know what you need to do after discharge
- . When should you next see your physician?
- Should you get additional rehabilitation such as physical therapy?
- What important tests, procedures, or new diagnosis have you had?
- What medicines have been changed and why?
- How do I get a copy of the hospital records sent to me and my doctor?
Other helpful tips
Medications to avoid
Some medications can worsen movement symptoms of PD, including slowness, stiffness, tremor and dyskinesia. These drugs, listed below, are used to treat psychiatric problems such as hallucinations, confusion or gastrointestinal problems, such as nausea.
Anti-hallucination medicines to avoid
- aripiprazole (Abilify), chlorpromazine (Thorazine), flufenazine (Prolixin), haloperidol (Haldol), molindone (Moban), perphenazine (Trilafon), perphenazine and amitriptyline (Triavil), risperidone (Risperdol), thioridazine (Mellaril), thiothixene (Navane)
- Note: the anti-hallucination medicines Quetiapine (Seroquel) or Clozapine (Clozaril) can be used.
Anti-nausea medicines to avoid
- metoclopramide (Reglan), phenothiazine (Compazine), promethazine (Phenergan)
Medicines to avoid if you are on Rasagiline (Azilect) or Selegiline (Eldepryl)
- Pain medicines - Meperidine (Demerol), Tramadol (Ultram), Antispasmodic medicine Flexeril , St John’s Wort, Dextromethorphan
This is not a complete list of medicines to avoid. If you have questions about other medications, ask your pharmacist or doctor.
Take a moment to print and complete the hospital worksheet found in My Medical Chart. This will help you be safe and get the most out of your hospital visit.
Monique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF