Personal Hygiene & Dental Care in Parkinson’s Disease

Caring for a patient with Parkinson’s disease can be a difficult and stressful task for any caregiver, whether your are a loved one or a professional home attendant, and even the simplest tasks may require some planning and special consideration. Daily personal hygiene is one of the most important points to focus upon because Parkinson’s patients, especially in the end stages, are more prone to infections and complications, which could be prevented with a greater degree of fastidiousness on the part of both the patient and caregiver.

Dental Care for Parkinson’s Patients

While the resting tremor of Parkinson’s disease may not pose a problem to patients in the early stages, those in the late stages may find it difficult to coordinate the brushing movements required for good dental care. Caregivers should take note of mouth ulcers and other oral conditions in Parkinson’s patients which may be aggravated by hard or rough brushing. Using a proper toothpaste to cater for the the sensitivity of the inner lining of the mouth should also be taken into consideration. Using a mouth rinse or flossing may not be easy for Parkinson’s patients in the end stages and may need to be skipped altogether. However regular brushing, frequent visits to a dentist and even simple measures like wiping the inside of the mouth and tongue with glycerin will go a long way in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Wound Care for Parkinson’s Patients

Bed sores may be a problem in Parkinson’s patients who are bedridden or isolated to a wheelchair for a long period of time. Bed sores are pressure ulcers where the skin and tissue gets damaged due to reduced blood supply to the area upon which pressure is exerted. A Parkinson’s patient who is bedridden should be turned regularly and allowed to move around with the aid of a wheelchair. Movement reduces the chances of a bed sore developing but hygiene is equally important. The bed sore should be treated with an antimicrobial topical solution to prevent a bacterial or fungal infection. In severe cases, antibiotics may be necessary but consult with a doctor first to prevent drug interactions with the Parkinson’s medicines.

General wound care is also important and appropriate dressing is necessary as advised by a doctor. Due to the lack of activity and poor dietary habits of Parkinson’s patients, their healing time and immunity is reduced and proper care is therefore necessary.

Daily Bathing & Skin Care

Bath time should be handled with care as an end stage Parkinson’s patient may be unable to stand in a shower and it can be risky moving the patient in and out of a bath tub. A sponge bath may have to be considered. Avoid using any perfumed soap or antibacterial soaps as these may cause drying and irritation of the skin. Body lotions should be hypoallergenic so as not to irritate the skin and if there is any signs of a rash, consult with a doctor to prevent it from spreading. A rash may be the early sign of a fungal infection, allergy or even a bed sore. Simple measures like cutting the finger and toenails will prevent damage to the surrounding skin when scratching as a Parkinson’s patient may have difficulty in coordinating the scratching motion and the amount of pressure they apply on the skin.

Taking care of patient in the end stages of Parkinson’s requires time and attention even to minute details that may be taken for granted. Always consult with a medical doctor or professional nurse for advice on caring for a Parkinson’s patients and the special considerations relating to personal hygiene and dental care.

3 Comments

  1. Hello my father in law went into the hospital, for a leg surgery, he has pd, they gave him haldol intraveniously and that put him in ICU a few days later he died, why does haldol advance PD so much and freeze or crash a PD sufferer, before he went in he had stage 2 PD and lived alone, he died of a heart attack with aperated phnemonia and they said he had stage 5 PD for 2 years on his death cert.

    thank you

    • Hi Jim

      I think it is best to discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist. According to our editorial guidelines, we cannot comment on any doctor’s prescription or actions. I fully understand that you are asking about the drug but any answer on our part may have an impact on the practitioner. It is not uncommon for readers to ask questions which could be intended for litigation and we do not like to be drawn into these matters.

  2. I understand Dr.Chris,………… I consulted a neurologist as well as my FIL’s doctor, they both told me Haldol will advance PD dramatically and giving it intravenously was bad also, they gave him levaquin as well and also demerol with his Parcopa, they both said the ICU was due to QT prolongation, I called the doctors at the hospital and asked them why did they give him Haldol knowing he had PD and they said to calm him as he was agitated so I then asked the doctor was the outcome of calming him, worth the risk of killing him and if the FDA says not to give haldol intravenously why would you do that also, he said it was “standard of care” I then said even your basic PDR says do not take haldol if you are allergic or have Parkinson’s is it standard of care to give drugs to patients that are allergic or contradicts there disease, he then hung up on me, was my questioning out of line or disrespectful? after all I buried a man who was fully functional on his own who simply tripped and broke his hip had surgery on wednesday was fine had haldol thurs, fri, sat. and sunday was on full life support in the ICU his agitation was he did not want his blankets covering him, my wife was there the whole time, she slept in his room with him, I really dont understand what went on, or how a doctor could just blow me off like that, I am not a doctor but I have researched this for 3 months and can tell even a doctor, there is absolutely no reason to give a PD patient haldol, they say he had stage five pd, well with that comes dementia and thats what he was displaying, probably from the morphine dilaudid and oxycodone they were giving him, absolutely never give haldol to the elderly with dementia……

    Do some doctors just ignore these things?

    thank you

    jim

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