MIAMI, Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new initiative sponsored by the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and participating NPF Centers of Excellence aims to expand its signature program, Aware in Care, to prepare, protect and empower people with Parkinson's disease (PD) during a hospital stay. NPF is bringing Aware in Care's lifesaving messages to underserved communities by providing thousands of free hospitalization kits in low health literacy English and Spanish versions.
"The unfortunate reality in our country is that many people remain isolated and unable to access services in the healthcare system at large," said Joyce Oberdorf, NPF's President and CEO. "NPF is working to ensure that everyone—regardless of who they are, where they live, what language they speak or how much money they have—receives much-needed Parkinson's resources."
Three out of four people with PD do not receive their medications on time when staying in the hospital. With more frequent hospital visits and a high sensitivity to the timing and dosing of PD medications, people with PD face great risks in the hospital. To address these risks, NPF launched Aware in Care in 2012, and has since distributed more than 25,000 kits across the United States. The launch in 2012 included a national awareness campaign encouraging patients and caregivers to, "Get the Kit. Know the Facts. Be Aware in Care."
"Aware in Care is taking the lead to address the well-known challenge of getting medications on time and the correct medications. The education of the underserved is a key priority of Aware in Care which will ultimately assist those with Parkinson's to receive better care," said Becky Dunlop, RN, Johns Hopkins Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorder Center. "The NPF Aware in Care kit is a vital resource for all individuals living with Parkinson's disease and their families."
The new low health literacy English and Spanish versions of the kit will be distributed in targeted geographic regions (Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C.), in order to reach the most vulnerable communities. The new kit will include: a guide to prepare the PD patient for a planned or an emergency hospital visit, a medical alert card and a medication form to fill out and share with hospital staff.
NPF is partnering with five Centers of Excellence to accomplish this community outreach:
- Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in Baltimore, MD
- Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX
- Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ
- University of Pennsylvania/Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, PA
- Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
NPF has an historic commitment to equal access to health care resources. In partnership with NPF's Chapters and Centers of Excellence across the United States, Canada and internationally, NPF has developed materials and resources to respond to the diverse needs of all people who are affected by Parkinson's disease.
This initiative was made possible by the generous support of Medtronic Philanthropy. Aware in Care is also supported by the generous contributions of its lead sponsor, the Edmond J. Safra Philanthropic Foundation (www.edmondjsafra.org), and the Eleanor M. and Herbert D. Katz Family Foundation.
For more information about Aware in Care or to order a free kit, visit www.awareincare.org or call NPF's toll-free Helpline 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).
About Parkinson's Disease
Affecting an estimated one million Americans and four to six million worldwide, Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer's and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. It is associated with a progressive loss of motor control (e.g., shaking or tremor at rest and lack of facial expression) as well as non-motor symptoms (e.g., depression and anxiety). There is no cure for Parkinson's, and 60,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States alone.
About the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF)
Founded in 1957, the National Parkinson Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of care for people with Parkinson's disease through research, education and outreach. NPF has funded more than $172 million in care, research and support services. For more information about NPF, visit www.parkinson.org, or call the NPF Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636).
 KN Magdalinou, et al. Prescribing medications in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients during acute admissions to a District General Hospital. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders. 2007 Dec;13(8):539-40.
SOURCE National Parkinson Foundation