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Discharge Instructions for Parkinson’s Disease

You have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by a loss of a chemical in your brain that helps control your movement and balance. For reasons that are not clear, cells that make this brain chemical stop working. This leads to the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Here are things you can do at home to feel better.

Medications

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Get a pillbox with sections for each day of the week or different time of the day.

  • Try to take your pills about the same time each day.

  • Don’t run out of medication. Order more medication when you still have a 2-week supply left.

  • Bring your medication and copies of your prescriptions when you travel.

  • Carry a list of the medications you take.

  • Ask your doctor before driving or operating heavy machinery. Some medications for Parkinson’s disease can cause sleepiness.

Daily Activities

  • Do 1 thing at a time.

  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get ready for appointments so that you’re not rushed.

  • Lay out your clothes nearby.

  • Replace buttons with Velcro patches.

  • Choose shoes that slip on or that close with Velcro.

  • Use kitchen utensils with large handles if you have trouble holding them.

  • If you drink hot liquids, use cups with lids to prevent burns from spills.

  • Install grab bars in the shower or tub to make getting in and out easier. A shower chair may also be useful.

  • Put no-slip decals on the bottom of the tub.

  • Remove bathroom rugs, or make sure they have a no-slide rubber bottom.

  • Strengthen your voice by reading aloud. Singing is also a good exercise.

  • Add a voice amplifier to the phone to help you to be heard.

Avoiding Constipation

  • Drink plenty of water. Ask your doctor how much you should drink.

  • Eat foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

  • Use over-the-counter laxatives or stool softeners, if needed.

Getting Support

  • Remember, Parkinson’s is a serious illness. It’s normal to feel emotional while you learn to cope.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel depressed. Let your family and doctor know if you feel like harming yourself or others.

  • Ask your doctor about support groups in your area.

 

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble swallowing

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness or confusion

  • Weight loss of more than 5 to 7 pounds in a month

  • Fever of 101.4°F (38.5°C) or higher

  • Depression that makes you feel as though you want to harm yourself or others

  • Confusion or hallucinations (a side effect of some medications used for Parkinson’s)

  • Excessive sleepiness or falling asleep without warning

  • One or more falls at home

Online Medical Reviewer: Bernstein, Allan L, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Merrilees, Jennifer, RN, MS, PhD
Last Review Date: 10/12/2011
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.