People with Parkinson’s are being subjected to ‘frustrating and scandalous’ standards of care in hospital new research from Parkinson’s UK reveals today.
From being forced to smuggle in medication to being subjected to shocking levels of drug deprivation by hospital staff.
This data has been commissioned to time with the launch of Parkinson’s Awareness Week (7-13 April) and paints a deeply disturbing picture of life in hospital for those with the degenerative condition.
Almost half (47 per cent) of people with Parkinson’s are denied regular access to the medication they need to keep their Parkinson’s under control.
Medication is a lifeline for people with Parkinson’s, with some people taking in excess of ten tablets a day as part of a strict regime just to be able to move or communicate with those around them.
Almost six in ten (59 per cent) of those who did not have regular access to medication in hospital felt there was a significant impact on their health.
Far from being isolated incidents, almost seven in ten (69 per cent) people with Parkinson’s reported experiencing increased levels of anxiety whilst in hospital because of the difficulties around getting their medication.
Understanding of hospital staff about the condition remains woefully inadequate; with over a third (35 per cent) of people with Parkinson’s reporting that hospital staff had a poor understanding of the importance of giving medication for the condition on time – which can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Steve Ford, Chief Executive at Parkinson’s UK, explains: “Our research confirms that hospital – where people with Parkinson’s should feel safest – can actually be the most dangerous place for them to be.
“Being admitted in hospital can be difficult enough, but when that is coupled with the fear and uncertainty of being deprived of your drugs – it can become unbearable.
“Time and again people tell us that they leave hospital with their Parkinson’s in a far worse state than when they went in. Nurses tell us they receive an hour, at most, of specialised Parkinson’s training and this fundamental lack of education has resulted in people with the condition being so terrified by their previous experiences in hospital that they use their wash bags to smuggle in their medication.”
Worryingly, the research also revealed that almost four in ten (37 per cent) of those who were unable to take their own medication found hospital staff were unhelpful in making sure medication was given on time, resulting in seven in ten (71 per cent) people feeling more anxious at the prospect of having to go into hospital again in the future.
Throughout Parkinson’s Awareness Week the charity is urging hospitals across the UK to work with them to help put people with Parkinson’s back in control of their condition.