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Washbag advice for Parkinson’s hospital patients

The Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS) has launched a washbag full of tips and advice to help the thousands of sufferers living in the UK who are admitted into hospital each year to get their medication on time.

The charity’s free washbag contains: a detailed guide including useful tips on how to prepare for a hospital stay, what to prepare and who to talk to, a medication record, a card to put by their bed and tear off reminder slips to alert staff to their Parkinson’s.

The new materials form part of the PDS’s “Get it on time” campaign, launched in 2006 to ensure that all people with Parkinson’s receive their medication when in hospital.

When they do not, patients’ ability to manage their symptoms may be lost, for example, they may suddenly not be able to move, get out of bed or walk down a corridor.

Since the launch of the campaign, a number of pharmacists have initiated improved processes in their hospitals.

Problems with the timing of Parkinson’s medication in hospital can have a significant impact on the experience of patients and create additional pressure on staff.

In a survey of Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialists carried out last year, nine out of ten felt that patients with Parkinson’s could experience clinical problems or an extended hospital stay as a result of missed or late administration of their medication.

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Steve Ford, Chief Executive of the Parkinson’s Disease Society, said: “The ‘Get it on time’ campaign has already made a big difference to the lives of many people with Parkinson’s and their families, and pharmacists have played an important part in this.

“We hope that community and hospital pharmacists will tell people with Parkinson’s about the new materials and encourage them to use them.

“By doing so, they will help ensure that people with Parkinson’s prepare better for, and have a better experience, in hospital.

“We also hope that hospital pharmacists will review the medicines management processes in place in their hospital and continue to work hard to ensure that people with Parkinson’s do not experience difficulties with their medication during their hospital stay.”

As well as the launch of the washbag, the PDS has introduced country-specific leaflets for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

These give patients the information they need to report an incident to the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) either directly or through a health care professional and to make a formal or informal complaint if they have had problems with the timing of their Parkinson’s medication or any other medicines management difficulties during their stay.

The free “Get it on time” washbag and complaints leaflets are available to order free of charge from Sharward Services Ltd, Westerfield Business Centre, Main Road, Westerfield, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP6 9AB. Tel: 01473 212 115, Fax: 01473 212 114.