Phil's story - 60 minutes waiting for my Parkinson's drugs

When Phil Walkerdine, 51, went into hospital with pneumonia, the last bit of control he had over his Parkinson's was lost when his medication was locked away.

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"Even though I was told I had Parkinson's in 2004, I'm determined to do things the way I did before my diagnosis and, thanks to my medication, I'm normally able to.

Medication locked in a container

"My symptoms include stiffness, balance issues, and freezing and, as long as I take my drugs at set times every day, I can keep them under control.

"Throughout my stay, I had to keep reminding busy nurses about my medication.

"But that all changed for a while when I got taken into hospital.

"I was admitted after developing a rare form of pneumonia.

"I signed a form when I got there that let me take my own medication but a few hours later they told me this was no longer allowed.

"My Parkinson's medication was locked in a container by my bedside cabinet.

Losing control

"It soon became obvious that getting my medication on time was going to be a problem.

"On the ward, meds were only given at certain times of day and I often waited an hour past the time my medication was due because the ward was busy. 

"I felt myself starting to lose control and struggle with my symptoms – it was bad enough having the pneumonia but when my Parkinson's symptoms got worse it was the last thing I needed.

"If you haven't got your drugs inside you it's difficult to do even the most basic things and I couldn't even pour myself a glass of water.

"Throughout my stay, I had to keep reminding busy nurses about my medication.

"I also needed to show them how to use my infusion pump and had to keep doing this whenever I moved to a different ward.

Educating ward staff

"I'm thankful for the care I received while I was in hospital, but if I'd been allowed to take my own medication I could have avoided the extra pain and stress, managed my Parkinson's, and saved the nurses time.

"My experience has made me nervous about going into hospital again as I wouldn't be able to go in knowing I'd be looked after properly – I'd have to educate the ward staff all over again, and that does make me worry.

Every person with Parkinson's is different, with individual medication regimes

"Every person with Parkinson's is different, with individual medication regimes.

"Raising awareness among staff and having the right policies on self-administration of medication would help make staying in hospital easier and really put people with Parkinson's back in control."