Frank L. Wright, a Leesburg resident, recently completed training as an ambassador for the Parkinson Foundation’s “Aware in Care” pilot program.
Studies have shown that in the hospital three out of four people with Parkinson’s Disease don’t get their medications on time during an inpatient stay.Further, they have a one in four chance of complications because of medication errors. In some cases, Parkinson patients are prescribed meds that are contra-indicated—sometimes with disastrous outcomes.
To address this issue, the Miami-based Parkinson’s Foundation has developed a free “Aware in Care” kit that provides tools and information to help ensure that patients get the best care possible during a hospital stay.
To spread the word about the program, the foundation established a corps of approximately 100 “ambassadors” nationwide. Wright, who has battled Parkinson’s since 2012 applied and was selected. He completed his initial training earlier this summer.
He said that his role is to pro-actively meet with Parkinson’s patients, support groups, hospital staff, and clinicians to highlight the problem and the importance of timely dispensing medications.
“Parkinson’s patients frequently take multiple doses of their meds,” he said. “However, taking meds four times a day at 6 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. frequently doesn’t translate into a hospital’s protocol of 4 times a day meaning 6 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and midnight. Similarly, the drugs that a person’s Parkinson specialist has prescribed may not be on the hospital’s shelf. Finally, there are some drugs that if given to a person with Parkinson’s, may lead to confusion and hallucinations.”
The kit, which is available free from the Parkinson’s Foundation, includes a fact sheet with information about the disease, critical clinical care considerations as well as safe and unsafe medications.Also included is an ID bracelet that identifies the patient as having Parkinsons, a form for listing the patient’s current drugs and medication schedule, and a tablet of paper forms that can be given to nurses, technicians, and doctors highlighting the fact that the patient has PD. “By repeating the fact that the patient has PD, we can remind hospital staff of the importance of dispensing the right meds, on time, every time,” Wright said.
People with Parkinson’s or their caregivers may request a free “Aware in Care” kit be mailed to their home by calling 800-473-4636 or go toParkinson.org/AwareinCare. Support groups, clinicians, senior residences who would like information on the program can contact Wright email@example.com
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. More than one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease, and 60,000 more are diagnosed each year.