Having Parkinson’s disease (PD) certainly doesn’t make you immune to accidents and ailments that can land you in a hospital — it may make a trip to the ER more likely, in fact. To make sure that a surprise trip to the emergency room (is there any other kind?) or a planned stay in the hospital doesn’t leave you worse off than before you went in, use the following tips:

  • Have copies of the following information ready; give them to the Admissions office, the doctors, and ER or floor staff:

    • Your neurologist’s contact information — phone, pager, e-mail, and fax info

    • Your doctor’s written instructions for stopping and starting your PD meds during ER or hospital treatment

    • A list of all prescription and over-ther-counter medications you currently take

    • A list of the red-flag medications that interact badly with PD meds, including antinausea dopamine agonists, gastrointestinal anticholinergics, antipsychotics, and postoperative pain-management drugs — Demerol in particular

  • Examine meds you are given in the hospital. If you don’t recognize a med, ask what it is, who prescribed it, and why you’re taking it.

  • Make sure your care partner has copies of all personal info including insurance info and copies of your advance directive and living will.

  • Have your care partner monitor all ER- or hospital-administered meds.

  • Before leaving the hospital, get a list of medications you’re now taking.

  • After you’re home, contact your neurologist to review the list.