Healthcare and coronavirus: Parkinson's symptoms

Parkinson's symptoms may be different during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Or, new ones may appear. Speaking to healthcare professionals may be different. Here's some information to help you get the support you need.

I have new symptoms but don’t know if they’re related to my Parkinson’s. What should I do?

Speak to a health professional. It may be helpful to monitor your symptoms first.

It can be difficult to know what symptoms are related to Parkinson’s and which are related to other things. It can help to keep a diary of the symptoms you experience when you take your Parkinson’s drugs. It is a crude assessment but if any symptom improves or disappears 30-60 minutes after you have taken your Parkinson’s drugs then this symptom may be because of your Parkinson’s. If there's no change in the symptom it may caused by something else. This can depend on whether you are on enough medication, if you have side effects from your medication, if you're constipated, or if you're unwell with another condition such as an infection.

You can call our helpline to speak to one of the nurse advisers and they will go through this with you. We can then advise you where to find more help if needed.

I am - or someone I care for is - experiencing worsening confusion and hallucinations. What should I do?

Contact your GP. You may be able to speak to them on the phone rather than visit them.

Confusion and hallucinations can be a sign that something else is going on. Your GP would normally try to rule out infections such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), constipation and dehydration. If there are any signs of any of these they would need to be addressed. If you think there's an infection, or if there's a history of infection, you should discuss this with your GP. Some people may be given a short course of antibiotics to try to treat this. Your GP may ask you to provide a sample first. Constipation can be treated with laxatives and your GP or pharmacist can advise you about this.

If there are no infections, constipation or dehydration, or you need further advice, you can call our helpline. The nurses on the helpline can’t make changes to drugs but we may be able to discuss possible causes of your symptoms and signpost you to support to help you manage them.

Someone I care for has been in hospital for several weeks and their Parkinson’s symptoms seem to have got worse. Can they go to a rehabilitation unit before they're discharged?

Speak to the hospital.

Unfortunately, any illness requiring a stay in hospital (for example, infections) can affect Parkinson’s symptoms. And if someone is considered at risk of a fall during their time in hospital, their ability to move around will be restricted to reduce the risk. This reduced mobility can affect people’s symptoms, especially physical symptoms.

Everyone should be assessed by a physiotherapist and occupational therapist when the hospital is considering discharge. If people are well enough for discharge and the physiotherapist thinks they have achievable goals they may be transferred to a rehabilitation unit. These beds are in short supply so only people who are thought to be most likely to benefit from rehabilitation will be considered - and only if there is a bed available. Where beds are not available rehabilitation can be offered in the community.

We're here for you

We have a range of information and support to help you during this challenging time.