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How Can I Help Hospitalized Loved One with Parkinson's Disease?

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How Can I Help Hospitalized Loved One with Parkinson's Disease?

January 22, 2023 •  Law Office of Michelle Adams
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurological disorder affecting some older adults, causing tremors and difficulty with coordination. PD eventually worsens with time, leading individuals to struggle with communication, walking and caring for themselves.

According to the Parkinson's Foundation, nearly 10 million people live with Parkinson's disease worldwide, and 60,000 people are diagnosed every year.

Next Avenue’s recent article entitled “How to Advocate for Your Hospitalized Loved One with Parkinson's Disease” says most patients diagnosed with Parkinson's disease will eventually require full-time care as their disease progresses, and they become less independent. As a result, adult children of PD patients are most commonly in caretaking roles, managing medications, helping with feeding, dressing, bathing and acting as medical advocates.

Likewise, research has shown that people with Parkinson's are hospitalized at a much higher rate than older adults without PD due to complications from the disease. They’re also at an increased risk for hospital-related complications such as pneumonia, skin breakdown and confusion — all of which can be preventable.

Caregivers have an essential role in advocating for a loved one with Parkinson's disease. Here are some ways to help ensure that they receive the best possible care in the hospital, while also promoting a speedy recovery.

As a caregiver, you can support your loved one by making sure they get the sleep they need in the hospital. Ask the nurses to minimize unnecessary distractions during the night, keep the room dark and the television off and talk quietly around the patient's room.

Parkinson's patients are at risk for more prolonged hospitalizations from hospital-related complications. However, a lot of these difficulties are preventable through basic hygiene. As a caregiver, you can help the nursing staff care for your loved one:

  • You can brush your loved one's teeth or clean their mouth with hospital-provided swabs to remove dangerous bacteria that contribute to pneumonia.
  • Extra moisture, drooling and skin changes are often a result of Parkinson's disease. Place a cloth under the person’s neck to dry any drooling and clean their face regularly with warm water.
  • Speak with nursing staff to request lotion, lip balm, or antifungal powder to help your loved one feel more comfortable.
  • Help with early mobility by assisting your loved one in moving their arms and legs.
  • If your loved one is hospitalized, they must be turned at least every two hours to relieve pressure on their lower back and buttocks. Pressure ulcers can develop from inactivity, which can cause infection, delay healing and extend hospitalization.

As a caretaker, your education and experience on Parkinson's can be powerful, so speak up and express your needs as you advocate for your loved one.

Reference: Next Avenue (Dec. 22, 2023) “How to Advocate for Your Hospitalized Loved One with Parkinson's Disease”

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