Objective: Motor neurone disease (MND) is a rapidly fatal condition with survival of less than 4 years. Patients can deteriorate quickly in the preterminal stages resulting in inappropriate resuscitation or admission to intensive care units (ICU) or accident and emergency (A & E).
Material and methods: We looked at patterns of mortality with emphasis on the place of death. A retrospective study was performed of all patients attending an MND clinic, who had died within a 10-year period.
Results: Of 179 patients (63 female), 81 patients (45%) died at home, in a hospice or in a nursing home. Sixty-five patients (36%) died in hospital (11 in ICU or A & E). Nine of the latter were previously known to have MND and six admissions were probably avoidable. Most ward patients died of respiratory causes and were treated conservatively.
Conclusion: The proportion of patients dying in A & E or ICU was small but could have been reduced further. A number of those who died on the wards could probably have been managed conservatively at home. Older patients and those with bulbar disease had a poorer prognosis.