Preparing for a hospital stay

A planned (booked) or emergency hospital stay may or may not be related to your Parkinson’s. But it's important that your condition is carefully managed during your hospital stay. You’ll need to make sure you can continue with your drug routine, and that hospital staff understand how the condition affects you day-to-day.

Because of this, it’s important to plan for a booked hospital admission. But having some things prepared in case of an emergency stay can also help you ease any anxiety.

The Message in a Bottle scheme

This is a free scheme from Lions Clubs International. It designed to alert emergency services to your condition quickly. 

The kit includes a form to record your medical details on. The form is stored in a bottle in your fridge. The kit also contains two green stickers. One should be put on your fridge door, and the other on the inside of your front door. This will let emergency services know you’re part of the scheme.

Speak to your pharmacist or Parkinson's nurse about getting a kit.


A MedicAlert bracelet or pendant is a piece of jewellery that provides contact details and medical information, including what medications you are taking. It can be helpful if you are not able to communicate in an emergency.

Carry a Parkinson’s UK alert card

This is a plastic alert card that you can keep in your purse or wallet in case of emergencies. You can order an alert card for free through our shop.

Smartphone medical ID

Many smartphones, including Apple and Samsung devices, have a Medical ID app. You can record that you have Parkinson’s along with the names of any medication you take. You can also include the contact number of a family member, friend or carer so that emergency services know who to call.

If your admission is planned, it’s a good idea to tell your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse in advance. They can pass on your medical details to the team who’ll look after you in hospital. 

They should also stress that you need your Parkinson’s medication on time. This is very important for helping to control your symptoms effectively.

The hospital may invite you to a pre-admission assessment. This is an appointment with a doctor or nurse.

It’s an opportunity for you to discuss your Parkinson’s and any specific needs you have. For example, any special equipment you use or daily routines you have. You’ll also be asked to bring in an up-to-date list of the medications you’re taking. It’s a good idea to carry this list with you at all times, not just when you’re in hospital.

If the hospital doesn’t have a pre-admission assessment process, you can discuss your needs when you’re admitted. The admissions nurse will be responsible for asking about these needs when you go into hospital.

The pre-admission assessment can make sure you have a good stay in hospital and recover well. This is important because Parkinson’s can increase the time it takes some people to recover. But with the right care, you’ll be able to recover as quickly as possible.

It’s a good idea to prepare your medication before your hospital stay, if you’re able to. This can help hospital staff quickly understand your medication routine. You should be able to take your own medication into hospital with you, including any that aren’t for Parkinson’s. You might find the following tips helpful.

Keep a record of your medication

You can use a medication card to list your medication and how your symptoms affect you.

Storing your medication

  • Your medication should be kept in its original packaging. You won’t be able to use it in hospital without this, even in an emergency.
  • Check that your medication dose stated on the labels matches what you’re actually taking. This will be helpful if your hospital records are out of date. You should also have at least 24 hours’ supply so you don’t miss any doses.
  • Keeping a copy of our medication card with your supply will help medical professionals to quickly understand your treatment routine. You can order one of these for free on our online shop.
  • It can also be a good idea to store extra supplies of your medication. Let your healthcare team, and anyone who cares for you, know where they are in case you need to use them.

Any medication you bring to hospital will be stored in a safe place by your nurse. This is usually a locker by your bed, which only you and ward staff can access.

It’s important that hospital staff know what medication you take and when you need to take it. This will mean you don’t miss doses and can recover as quickly as possible.

Apomorphine and duodopa require specialist care so it’s particularly important to tell staff about them.

Staff can speak to your Parkinson’s nurse or the APO-go helpline for more advice (0844 880 1327), or the Dacepton helpline (0800 254 0175) for more advice.

The person who supports or cares for you may be able to continue managing this treatment. This will depend on your hospital’s policy.

Deep brain stimulation

It’s also important to tell staff if you’ve had DBS. MRI scans can only be used under very strict conditions if you’ve had DBS.

If you’re having surgery, the surgeon and anaesthetist should be told you have a DBS device implanted. There are certain safety measures they’ll need to take during the operation, such as prescribing antibiotics when there’s a risk of germs getting into the bloodstream. This can include during dental procedures, for example.

You should take your patient ID card when you go into hospital. This carries vital contact details if ward staff have any further questions.

If you have to wait to see a doctor in the accident and emergency department, try to remember the following:

  • Tell staff you have Parkinson’s and how vital it is to get your medication on time.
  • Explain to staff what medication you take. Show them your medication card or the Medication Record at the back of this booklet. Ask them to keep a record of it in your notes and check they’ve recorded everything accurately.
  • Ask a member of staff to let your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse know you’re in hospital.
  • If your medication is in its original packaging, you may be allowed to self-administer your medication. If you’re able to do this, keep taking your drugs as you normally would
    at home.
  • Tell staff if you’ve had deep brain stimulation (DBS).
  • Emergency Department staff may not know a lot about Parkinson’s. Be patient and try to provide as much information as possible about how the condition affects you. The more they know, the more they can help you with your specific needs.

Download this information

Going into hospital when you have Parkinson's (PDF, 2.6MB)

We know lots of people would rather have something in their hands to read rather than look at a screen, so you can order printed copies of our information by post, phone or email.

Preparing for a hospital admission if you have Parkinson's

Going into hospital can be an anxious time for anyone. But if you have Parkinson’s there are things you can do to make you feel more prepared whether it's a planned or emergency admission. We share our top tips.

Get It On Time

We're campaigning to make sure that everyone in a care home or hospital gets their medication on time – every time.

Last updated

Next update 2028

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]