During your stay in hospital

If you have Parkinson's, it's important that you feel comfortable during your hospital stay and have everything you need to be able to manage your symptoms.

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When you are admitted to hospital, you will be given a named nurse. They may also be known as a key, or primary, nurse. They are responsible for your care during your stay.

You should tell your nurse about your usual routine with Parkinson’s and any specific needs you have. 

Your named nurse may be able to arrange for information about your Parkinson’s and your drugs to be included on the notes at the end of your bed. This will make night nurses and other ward staff aware of your needs when your named nurse is not on duty.

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At home, you may use equipment to help with daily tasks. You should check with the hospital if you can bring these with you. Hospitals will normally have a policy on this. You can discuss your equipment at your pre-admission assessment or with your named nurse during admission.

Using equipment or asking the ward staff to help may also make it easier for you to stay mobile.

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Wards can be busy, even at night. There can also be more lights on than you would be used to at home. Try and stick to your regular sleep routine. If ward staff know your usual routine, they can try and accommodate it as far as possible.

Let the ward staff know about any specific needs you have for sleeping. This could include help turning over in bed, getting up several times during the night to go to the toilet or making your bed more comfortable.

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You might have special requirements linked to your diet and any swallowing issues. These may include thickened fluids, pureed meals or a PEG feed (feeding tube).

If you have any dietary needs linked to your medication you should talk to a hospital dietitian so that you can plan ahead. This will help you continue with your medication regime. You can also discuss anything specific at your pre-admission assessment.

You should also let ward staff know if you use any special equipment to eat and drink with.

If you experience ‘on/off’ periods and need help at meal times, make sure the staff are aware of this, so they don’t just assume you aren’t hungry. It’s important to eat well while in hospital because this will help to fight off infection and maintain regular bowel and bladder function.

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Bladder and bowel problems such as constipation or bladder incontinence can be more common for people with Parkinson’s. It is important that you are able to manage these symptoms if you experience them. Make hospital staff aware of any issues so they can help you.

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If Parkinson’s affects your ability to communicate, make sure the hospital staff know about this so that you have more time to speak and answer their questions. A soft, quiet voice may be difficult to hear on a noisy ward. You may also have to talk more than usual, which may make your voice tired. If you use communication aids, bring them
to the hospital to help you.

Some people may take a while to get used to your speech patterns. Lack of facial expression may make staff think you are not responding when they ask you something, so you may find it helpful to explain to staff that you experience this symptom.

If there are times of the day that are particularly good or bad for you, make sure you talk about this with your named nurse.

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Going into hospital may affect your benefits payments. This will depend on how long you spend in hospital and what benefits you receive.

If you are receiving benefits and are admitted to hospital, you need to notify the Department for Work and Pensions, or ask someone to do it for you.

For more information on rights and benefits, you can contact our dedicated employment and benefits adviser on the Parkinson’s UK helpline on 0808 800 0303 or email us.

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Going into hospital when you have Parkinson's (PDF, 4MB)

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Last updated February 2020. We review all our information within 3 years. If you'd like to find out more about how we put our information together, including references and the sources of evidence we use, please contact us at [email protected]