Managing Medications for Hospital Patients With Parkinson Disease

Dorothy J. Moore; Bonnie M. Smith; Maria H. Cho


Am Nurs Journal. 2017;12(1) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


A progressive degenerative disease, Parkinson disease (PD) is marked by tremor, slow movement, stiffness, and balance problems. It affects about 1 million Americans—more than amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and muscular dystrophy combined.

Patients with PD are admitted to hospitals at higher rates than the general population and have longer stays. Medication mismanagement is the most common complication of their hospitalization. Three in every four don't receive their medications on time, resulting in potentially serious consequences. Many worry they'll have exacerbations of "wearing off" symptoms if they get their medications late. (Wearing off means a return of Parkinson symptoms, which increases the risk for falls and other mishaps.) What's more, certain medications commonly prescribed during hospitalization can worsen PD symptoms.

To promote good outcomes, you must be knowledgeable about nursing care for these patients— especially PD medications and how to manage the hospital medication regimen. To help ensure safe, effective care and appropriate medication therapy, be sure to reconcile patients' medications and assess their swallowing and fall risk.