Why is hospital safety important for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD)? People with Parkinson’s are at a higher risk of hospitalization and face many challenges while in the hospital. It is important for all people with Parkinson’s to be aware of the risks, prepare ahead of time and know how to advocate for their needs while in the hospital.
This often contributes to “The Symptom Spiral”
The Symptom Spiral
For most people, being in the hospital is a stressful experience. People are usually sick or experiencing some kind of health crisis. For people with PD, symptoms may get worse, and new symptoms, like confusion or thinking changes, can develop because of stress, infection, fatigue, sleep disturbances, surgery or new medications.
Already a delicate balance, PD symptom management can be even trickier in the hospital because of the following:
- People often do not get enough movement opportunities.
- Parkinson’s medications may not be given following the at-home schedule.
- Medications that worsen PD are sometimes prescribed.
- Medication doses are often delayed or missed.
These issues can lead to additional complications and set up a vicious cycle that puts you at risk for falls, swallowing changes, muscle deterioration, medication side effects, mental and physical decline or decreased independence. This is known as “The Symptom Spiral.”
Terri Weymouth, an Ambassador in Indiana, was admitted to the hospital three times between 2014 and 2019. Each time she had problems getting her medication on time.
If you would like to share how Parkinson’s has affected your life (as someone living with PD, a care partner or family member) in the hospital, submit a My PD Story today.