Parkinson’s and COVID-19
This article has been updated on 1 May 2020
Until recently, the given advice has been that people with Parkinson’s are not any more at risk of catching coronavirus than anyone else, although their risk of severe illness should they become infected is higher.
This is both because of having Parkinson’s, which we know can put people at a higher susceptibility to pneumonia and infection, and also because Parkinson’s predominantly affects older people, and we know the risk of severity increases with age.
However, a new study, 'Outcome of Parkinson’s Disease patients affected by COVID-19' published by Prof Angelo Antonini, Dr Valentina Leta, Prof James Teo and Prof K Ray Chaudhuri, suggests that those who are older and have lived with Parkinson's for some time, as well as those with Parkinson's who are on advanced therapies such as deep brain stimulation (DBS) or levodopa infusions, may be at a higher risk of developing COVID-19, as well as at a higher risk of severity from the disease. The authors have highlighted that these findings should be taken into consideration in noting susceptible groups within our population.
The British Geriatrics Society have posted a huge amount of information on their website and are updating it regularly. Separated into ‘general information’, ‘across all healthcare settings’, and then into specific settings, they have also issued a statement highlighting the key areas of the pandemic for older people.
The UK Parkinson’s Excellence Network has compiled links and information to relevant bodies and their independant COVID-19-related advice at this time. Information ranges from guidance for pharmacists and psychiatrists, to guidance for managing the virus in care homes, and managing delirium.
This includes relevant guidance from:
- The Royal Colleges of Physiotherapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy
- The Association of British Neurologists
- The British Geriatrics Society
- The Royal College of Nursing
Parkinson’s Academy is keen to support you with relevant information, education and signposting wherever possible. We can offer webinars on specific topics, or resources to assist you in supporting patients remotely. We can also provide a space for you to share examples of positive practice with your peers.
Please contact us, or leave a comment below, if you have ideas and suggestions of how we can best do this. If you need ideas, please see MS Academy’s COVID-19 resources to understand how we are supporting MS professionals at this time.
'The things you can't get from the books'
Parkinson's Academy, our original and longest running Academy, houses 17 years of inspirational projects, resources, and evidence for improving outcomes for people with Parkinson's. Led by co-founder and educational director Dr Peter Fletcher, the Academy has a truly collegiate feel and prides itself on delivering 'the things you can't get from books' - a practical learning model which inspires all Neurology Academy courses.