Patsy Cotton is a former Parkinson's specialist nurse with over 25 years experience working as part of an award-winning Parkinson's team. She is the Parkinson’s Excellence Network Clinical Lead for Innovation.
Hello everyone! I’m Patsy, Chair of the Time Critical Parkinson’s Medication Advisory Group. Since I shared my last blog in April, myself and the other members of the Advisory Group have been working hard to expand and develop our collaborative programme of work. Below are some recent highlights and successes and a brief update on what is coming next.Read my last update on time critical medications.
New guides for health professionals launch
I’m delighted to announce the launch of 3 new guides which will support health professionals to deliver time critical medication on time, every time for people with Parkinson’s:
- Read the time critical medication in Parkinson's guide for NHS ward staff: The nurse in charge/ward staff guide is a hands-on resource that lays out simple steps to implement on the ward. It also signposts to relevant Excellence Network materials that will support them to ensure medication is delivered on time.
- Read the hospital pharmacist time critical medication guide: This guide will support hospital-based pharmacists to make the right decisions, engage more effectively with appropriate clinical colleagues and help to ensure people with Parkinson’s get their medication on time.
- Read the swallowing guide for the nurse in charge and ward staff: This guide outlines changes nurses can implement on their ward to help ensure swallowing problems are considered during each hospital admission. It also highlights the key role that speech and language therapists play in assessing the swallowing ability of patients.
We think these new resources will make a real contribution to improving on the results from the 2022 Audit which showed that of the 21% of respondents who went to hospital, only 42% always got their medication on time. We've also taken care to ensure that all 3 guides are suitable for use by NHS staff in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
So, what’s next? We’re currently working with people with Parkinson’s to develop an ‘advocacy toolkit’. We know that some people with Parkinson’s find it difficult to advocate for themselves when they go into hospital, particularly when they’re stressed and anxious about what will happen to them if they don’t get their medication on time. We hope that patients can use this new resource when they’re admitted into hospital or even when they’re going about their daily lives and want to feel prepared.
What else have we been up to this year? The extraordinary campaigning efforts of Dr Jonny Acheson, Clare Addison and a group of fellow NHS professionals who live with Parkinson’s have continued to generate momentum and change.
Following on from the launch of their 10 recommendations for hospitals on World Parkinson’s Day 2023, we have been following up this work with hospitals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Read the 10 recommendations in hospitals in your region.
I am thrilled to share that the campaign has also attracted national recognition. Last month, the NHS professionals group, in collaboration with the Parkinson's Excellence Network, scooped the Patient Involvement in Safety Award at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards 2023! Read more about the award here. It was a very proud moment and the award has already opened new doors for collaboration on time critical medications.
And the campaign continues. In England, Jonny, Clare and the Campaigns team will be writing to chief executives of acute healthcare trusts this autumn. The ask is simple: benchmark your hospital against these 10 recommendations and provide feedback so that we can work with you to improve care for people with Parkinson’s.
Will you add your voice to our call by contacting your CEO and asking them to get involved in this work? Please email Jean Almond at [email protected] to find out more.
Report gains national media coverage
Last month, Parkinson’s UK launched the "Every minute counts" report to reveal the true extent of missed medications for people with Parkinson's and set out practical solutions that the government can take to support the NHS to solve this crisis.
In a joint statement with 7 other organisations, Parkinson's UK is calling on the government to take action. Find out more about the campaign and read the full report.
It underlines why our work is so important and reinforces that we need urgent action to result in better care for people with Parkinson's.
Next month I will be joining colleagues at the Wales wide Parkinson's Excellence Network meeting on 10 November for a collaborative session on time critical medications. Find out more about the Wales wide Parkinson’s Excellence Network meeting.
I'll also be meeting professionals at the Acute and General Medicine conference the following week. Find out more about the Acute and General Medicine conference.
These opportunities to talk to health professionals are so important and directly influence how we work on this issue.
Last but by no means least, we will be sharing some exciting news about work that the Royal College of Emergency Medicine are doing on time critical medications. Watch out for an announcement next month!
We are all really pleased with what we’re continuing to achieve by working collaboratively, there is a real sense of determination to improve time critical medications for people with Parkinson’s despite the challenging times that we are working in.
But we can’t do this without your support so if you have any thoughts or ideas about how we can keep developing this work further, please do get in touch! Email Jean Almond at [email protected].
Wishing you well as we head into autumn.
Time critical medication resources for professionals
Here you can find further resources for professionals, to help everyone with Parkinson's in hospital or care homes get their medication on time, every time.