A new UK-based study, backed by Parkinson’s UK, is set to be the biggest ever research project into the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Predict-PD aims to recruit 10,000 volunteers over the age of 60 and will use simple tests to identify people at high risk of Parkinson’s before the development of symptoms.
Current research suggests that problems including reduced sense of smell, insomnia, constipation, anxiety and depression may occur many years before more obvious symptoms of Parkinson’s are apparent. By predicting which individuals are most likely to develop the disease, the researchers believe they will be able to develop treatments to slow or prevent the condition progressing, delaying the worst of its effects and even potentially finding a cure.
Parkinson’s currently affects 1 in 100 people over 60. Although it is less common than Alzheimer’s disease, it’s rate of growth is greater than any other neurological condition and it currently has no cure, only treatments to reduce the symptoms.
The most common treatment for Parkinson’s remains drug therapy but this can be fraught with problems if the medication regime is not followed correctly. Read on to learn more about the important measures you must take when administering Parkinson’s medication to ensure your service users receive the maximum benefits from their treatment.
Parkinson’s drugs won’t stop the progression of the disease but they’ll usually help to treat the symptoms, in turn, improving mobility, independence and quality of life. Once a Parkinson’s medication regime has been established, it’s essential that it continues exactly as directed in order to prevent symptoms from deteriorating.
The aim of the medication regime is to maintain continuous dopaminergic stimulation (CDS) to enable optimal symptom control, particularly in relation to symptoms such as tremor and rigidity which can affect mobility. By ensuring your staff take an approach that optimises CDS, you’ll provide the person in your care with the best opportunity to maintain their independence and quality of life.
3 Essential Tips to Get the Most from Parkinson’s Medication
- Get the timing right: It’s essential to get the timing of any Parkinson’s drug right to ensure that CDS is maintained over the entire 24-hour span. Each individual with Parkinson’s will have a personalised regime optimised for them, which could mean that medication is given at frequent or unusual intervals. You must ensure this routine is maintained consistently each day to help stabilise CDS and maximize the effects of the medication.
- Avoid mealtimes: In order to aid its absorption by the gut, Parkinson’s medication usually needs be given 30-60 minutes before meals. If taken on a full stomach, the drugs may not be absorbed and symptoms could worsen. It’s usually only in the early stages of drug treatment, before tolerance has developed and when the person is at risk of drug-induced nausea, that medication is taken after food.
- Always Plan ahead: Once you understand the importance of maintaining a consistent medication regime, it’s much easier to plan in advance when the person in your care is admitted to hospital or undergoing out-patient investigations. Liaising with the GP, Parkinson’s specialist nurse and ward staff can help to ensure that the regime is adjusted to minimise any ill-effects.
Whether you work in care homes or domiciliary care services, Care Quality Matters provides the best advice, tools and resources on medication management that you can implement right away. Click here to learn more.