MEDICATION is a lifeline for people with Parkinson’s. However for thousands each year, the reality of going to hospital remains frightening and unsafe as medication routines are often delayed or missed, leading to a worsening of symptoms associated with the condition. The consequences can leave patients unable to walk or talk, and significantly increase their length of stay in hospital.
The charity believes that introducing mandatory training on the condition and educating professionals about medication management will make a huge difference.
Nearly 20,000 people have already signed a petition calling for mandatory training on Parkinson’s in hospitals which will be virtually submitted to the Government and received by Jackie Baillie, Scottish MSP, Mary Glindon, Chair of the APPG on Parkinson’s, Vikki Howells Member of the Senedd and Paula Bradshaw MLA for Belfast South later this week.
Benali Hamdache, Campaigns Manager at Parkinson’s UK said:
“No-one should fear going into hospital because they have Parkinson’s and the current picture is frightening. We know this year has been one of the toughest ever faced by the NHS, but for people with Parkinson’s, getting their medication on time in hospital has been a challenge for years. But, there is a simple solution to this problem, and it’s encouraging to see thousands of people join us in asking the NHS to ensure that people with Parkinson’s get their medication on time, every time. Making training about Parkinson’s mandatory for all hospital staff, so they are aware of the dangers and importance of medication management, is absolutely essential to help achieve this.
“Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust is a shining example where we have already seen patients’ health and recovery significantly improve because of simple interventions. The average number of missed medication doses for Parkinson’s patients reduced from 15% to 0.6%. At a time when the NHS faces its biggest challenges, ensuring all frontline staff are informed about the importance of Parkinson’s medication will help save lives.”
One year on from its report ‘Get It on Time‘, where mandatory training for all frontline NHS staff was recommended, there is still a long way to go. Last year the charity found that nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of people with Parkinson’s didn’t consistently get their medication on time in hospital and more than three quarters (78 per cent) of people reported that their health deteriorated as a direct result of this issue, with people experiencing severe tremors, anxiety and even being unable to walk or talk.
Parkinson’s is also thought to increase the risk of severe illness if a person with the condition gets coronavirus, meaning they are classed by the NHS and government as clinically vulnerable. It has never been more important for hospitals to get medication management right, to avoid a person’s health deteriorating and them spending unnecessary time in hospital.
Garth Ravenhill, 49, a research nurse living with Parkinson’s, shared:
“I was previously a nurse working on a ward in the NHS and before my own Parkinson’s diagnosis, I was so unaware about the importance of ensuring Parkinson’s patients got their medication on time. Now I might be one of those patients, and it fills me with dread.
“I take my medication every four hours, totalling 15-18 pills and I have to set two alarms at each interval as a reminder. If I forget, I have difficulty walking and my symptoms get worse. The dystonia in my right leg comes back and if I need to get to the toilet urgently it becomes a real challenge. I can’t imagine being a patient in this position and stuck in a hospital bed.”
To sign the Parkinson’s UK petition visit: www.parkinsons.org.uk/news/sign-our-get-it-time-petition