PMD Alliance had the special privilege to partner with Dr. Yasar Torres-Yaghi, Georgetown University, and Acadia to offer a mini-series on topics that many people have shared are things they struggle with; easily tracking medications, understanding the role of multiple medications, or polypharmacy, understanding how the brain progresses with Parkinson’s and how to track and communicate changes with their doctor and using the PDCare Website tool which can assist individuals when they arrive at the hospital for emergencies above what current kits offer.
Dr. Yasar Torres-Yaghi is an attending neurologist specializing in movement disorders at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, DC. During this series Dr. Torres-Yaghi shared the importance of maintaining up to date and accurate medication lists and a tool that was developed to make this simple and organized. Many people have a grocery bag full of medications and trying to track what your neurologist prescribed, your cardiologist, urologist, etc. can be challenging. The medication reconciliation tool was developed by Dr. Torres-Yaghi, Acadia and PMD Alliance to help you capture all the details your treating physicians will need to know in order to assure safety and accuracy in prescribing medications.
Many people not only take multiple medications due to co-morbidities, or the presence of other medical conditions, but often need multiple medications to manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s. While the term polypharmacy, or the use of multiple medications for the management of medical conditions, has largely held a negative connotation, Dr. Torres-Yaghi discussed in his program “What’s in Your Pill Box,” the benefits of using the variety of medications available for symptom management to enhance quality of life. Parkinson’s is a complex syndrome of symptoms both motor and non-motor that often requires the use of multiple medications to maximize symptom management. There is a fine balance between optimizing medications and managing risks of adverse reactions, but Dr. Torres-Yaghi shared the importance of using the medications available, the tools to help manage them to reduce risks and communicating symptoms, side-effects and other changes with your doctor.
While cognitive changes are common in Parkinson’s, they vary widely and often the changes can be subtle occurring over time. In the session on “How the Brain Progresses with PD,” Dr. Torres-Yaghi discussed the various changes that occur in the brain with Parkinson’s, areas of the brain affected and how they are interrelated to symptoms such as depression, anxiety, cognitive changes and even hallucinations. Understanding what to look for and how to effectively track and communicate these changes and symptoms to your treating physician was discussed offering guidance and insights such as writing lists of things experienced, felt or seen by the care partner and then reading those to your doctor. Dr. Torres-Yaghi encouraged the audience to make follow up appointments if all the concerns were not addressed due to time as there are often more symptom concerns than time. Being organized going in with your medication lists and preparing symptom lists beforehand helps to facilitate these discussions.
In the last session of the series, Dr. Torres-Yaghi shared PDCare.org, a website that can be viewed on your phone or computer that provides hospital recommendations and order sets for Parkinson’s patients in the event of a hospitalization. While there are hospital kits that can help communicate the need for medications to be administered on time, this website takes things a step further by offering specific information that physicians, nurses and other health care providers (HCP) can readily access that describes specific medication guidelines, management of delirium and hallucinations, nursing care indications as well as medication safety. Whether you remember to take your kits or not, this tool is available via phone or computer and is readily available to all HCP’s at any time.
If you missed this series or would like to download the fillable PDF medication reconciliation tool that you can use repeatedly along with the PMD Alliance emPowered! tool, please click the button below.
Anissa has a masters degree in social work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has over 25 years experience working as a medical social worker in a variety of settings.
Ten years ago, Anissa had an opportunity to work exclusively within Parkinson’s disease running an outreach center and found what some would say is her calling. In fact, she has been described as a Parkinson’s passionary- a person with passion and vision for those impacted by Parkinson’s disease. Anissa has a special interest in supporting the family network. Not long after starting her work in Parkinson’s her own mother was diagnosed. Anissa has developed and facilitated a variety of groups and educational programs for both persons with Parkinson’s and their family members, and loves using creativity to empower others.