Parkinson’s patients encouraged to order new Parkinson’s Passport to avoid medicine problems

This World Parkinson’s Day (11 April 2014) Parkinson’s Australia and NPS MedicineWise are encouraging anyone with Parkinson’s — or people caring for someone with the condition — to order a new Parkinson’s Passport to help avoid medicine problems.

The Parkinson’s Passport is a pack of materials, including a compact booklet containing a plastic card stating that you need your Parkinson’s medicine on time, to show if you go to a hospital emergency department. It also includes other checklists, facts, tips and a Medicines List.

Miriam Dixon, CEO of Parkinson’s NSW and project leader, said that is satisfying to see the input of Parkinson’s nurses, neurologists, pharmacists, people with Parkinson’s and many others come together in such a useful product.

NPS MedicineWise clinical adviser Dr Andrew Boyden says that getting your Parkinson's medicines on time when you go into hospital or a care facility can be a challenge, but as anyone with Parkinson’s will know, is an extremely important part of managing the condition well.

“The new Parkinson's Passport product suite from Parkinson’s NSW, on behalf of Parkinson’s Australia, and NPS MedicineWise gives you tools for reminding health professionals that your symptoms get worse if you don't have your medicines on time,” he says.

“It contains a plastic card with essential information so a busy triage nurse in emergency can quickly see that you have Parkinson’s, you need your medicines on time and that there are two common anti-nausea medicines — metoclopramide (e.g. Maxolon) and prochlorperazine (e.g. Stemetil) — that you shouldn’t have.”

Other features of the Parkinson’s Passport include:

  • The back of the card may be useful when you are out and about in the community, as it simply states ‘I have Parkinson’s’ and explains a few of the symptoms that may cause you problems in public.
  • The symptom management checklist is designed to be kept in your hospital notes – you can tick the symptoms that affect you, and your nurses can read the tips on managing these (e.g. swallowing difficulties, freezing).
  • The 'Parkinson's medicines' section gives practical tips such as how to avoid interactions with meals and manage nausea. It also suggests that the person with Parkinson's self-medicates in hospital, if possible, as this can help make sure medicines are taken on time.
  • The Medicines List gives space to record the names of all your medicines, doses, times and special instructions. It is a great way to keep track of your medicines all the time — not just when you go into hospital.

“Review your Medicines List with the health professionals involved in your care regularly to make sure it’s up to date. They can also check for potential problems such as interactions — always show it before starting any new medicine,” says Dr Boyden.

“If you go into hospital or other care facility, make sure you show your Medicines List to all the health professionals that are helping with your care.”

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