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How to Prepare to Go to the Hospital or ER When You Have Parkinson’s Disease

Part of the Parkinson’s Disease For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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.

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