Supporting our patients & preventing unnecessary admissions

by Dr Andrea Lindahl

LindahlExcellence Network Parkinson’s professionals have put together an interactive resource with ideas about how to anticipate issues and keep people with Parkinson’s out of hospital for as long as possible.

Having to go into hospital is especially daunting for people with Parkinson’s, because many hospital wards struggle to make sure people with Parkinson’s get their medications on time and experience of managing Parkinson’s on non-specialist wards can also be highly variable.

I first suggested the question of how best to keep people out of hospital as an interactive question at the UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network launch. When the Excellence Network investigated the reasons why people with Parkinson’s were being admitted, we realised many of these such as urinary tract infections, constipation and balance problems could be dealt with in the community if detected early on and a hospital admission avoided.

The specialist Parkinson’s team can do a lot working collaboratively with others to avert a crisis and the need for a hospital admission. The Excellence Network’s new short resource brings together handy hints and tips from fellow professionals about how best to support people with Parkinson’s at home. It includes links to resources developed in clinical practice that have made a difference to care.

One of these is an anticipatory care leaflet for people affected by Parkinson’s developed by my colleague in Coventry, Parkinson’s nurse Jodie Cooke, and Pete Smith, a Parkinson’s nurse in Westminster. In our local area we have found it has helped patients and carers take a more active role in identifying causes of worsening symptoms and it is something we wanted to share so you can use it in your own services.

The resource has a particular emphasis on self-management and the interventions available to promote this such as Parkinson’s UK’s Path through Parkinson’s programme. These encourage people with Parkinson’s to stay healthy and active, empowering them to take control of their own lives, while knowing that the specialist team is there to support them when needed.

I feel strongly our services should be proactive and work with others to keep people well, rather than reactive to complications and crises.

To download the resource, click here: Providing better support to people with Parkinson’s in the community and preventing unnecessary hospital admissions

Andrea Lindahl is Consultant Neurologist at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, and Excellence Network regional lead for the West Midlands