5 Things Parkinson’s Patients Must Do to Prepare for a Hospital Stay

Hospital stays can be detrimental to Parkinson’s patients’ health.  According to statistics from the National Parkinson’s Foundation, 3 out of 4 Parkinson’s patients do not receive their medications on time which can be extremely harmful.

Here are 5 things to do in preparation for your visit in the hospital:

1.       Notify the hospital that you have Parkinson’s disease. Make sure that all of the doctors working with you in the hospital are aware that you have Parkinson’s prior to your hospital stay.  If you find yourself in the hospital due to an emergency then make sure that you and your caregiver tell the nursing staff immediately upon arrival.

2.       Alert the staff and doctors that you must take your medications on time. Parkinson’s patients absolutely must take medication on time.  There are adverse effects that occur when a patient goes off of their schedule, but many hospitals mandate that patients stop self-administering drugs. Make sure that the nurses and physicians know about your schedule and don’t feel shy about speaking up when it is time to take your medicine.

3.       Keep your neurologist or primary care doctor informed. While you will receive care from the physicians and nurses you will want to notify your neurologist and/or primary care doctor of your hospital stay. Ask if your regular physician can send your medical records to the hospital so that the staff is aware of your disease. Remember to follow up with your physician after your hospital stay to keep them posted on your health.

4.       Ask for an Aware in Care kit. The National Parkinson’s Foundation created a comprehensive and convenient kit that was made specifically for Parkinson’s patients for emergency situations. The kits are free and available through the Foundation.

5.       Recovery properly and under supervision. One of the most important things to focus on is the recovery period after a hospital stay. Make sure that you are following the hospital physician’s order and follow up with your regular physician after your hospital stay. 

My Story as a Child Caretaker for my Mom, a Parkinson's Disease Patient

One of my first memories of my Mom was one of me as a toddler stepping on her toes so that they would not curl up as they often did during the day.  I had no idea why her toes curled, but I remember feeling a strong urge to help and comfort her.  

Swimming lessons with my Mom...I was about 1 year old in this picture. 

Swimming lessons with my Mom...I was about 1 year old in this picture. 

My name is Courtney Williamson, and I have 25 years of experience taking care of my Mom who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when I was a little girl.  Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease that impairs movement, hence, my Mom had difficulty controlling the movement in her toes.  The disease eventually impacted every part of her body and everyday tasks became increasingly difficult for her. 

Living with and caring for a Mom with such a debilitating disease had its challenges and often times people would express their sorrow for me and my family.  However, my Mom was a Christian and believed in God's healing hands and His ability to comfort and protect.  Much of my family's journey with Mom taught us such valuable lessons---lessons that I intend to share with the world. 

In 2014, I developed a product for my Mom to help her with her posture and balance.  The Calibrace+ was born out of my collaborations with biomedical engineers at Carnegie Mellon University.  I spent my time working on research for my Ph.D. at the Tepper School of Business while contributing to the designing and engineering work that would ultimately lead to a Medicare approved and FDA registered product commercially available to Parkinson's patients with postural instability and the 'Parkinson's stoop' that is so familiar to patients. 

This blog is intended to share my experience as a caregiver for a Parkinson's patient.  I will provide weekly tips, stories, and highlight events that I feel could be of interest to you.  

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with you about Parkinson's disease as the disease has had a tremendous impact on my life and influences the lives of 10 million around the world.  I hope that we can develop a community where we can share information and support one another. 

With Love,