Little is known about the hospital inpatient care of patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we describe the features of the emergency hospital admissions of a geographically defined population of PD patients over a 4-year period. Patients with PD were identified from a database for a Parkinson's disease service in a district general hospital with a drainage population of approximately 180,000. All admissions of this patient subgroup to local hospitals were found from the computer administration system. Two clinicians experienced in both general medicine and PD then reviewed the notes to identify reasons for admission. Admission sources and discharge destinations were recorded. Data regarding non-PD patients was compared to PD patients on the same elderly care ward over the same time period. The total number of patients exposed to analysis was 367. There was a total exposure of 775.8 years and a mean duration of 2.11 years per patient. There were 246 emergency admissions to the hospital with a total duration of stay of 4,257 days (mean, 17.3 days). These days were accounted for by 129 patients (mean age, 78 years; 48% male). PD was first diagnosed during 12 (4.9%) of the admissions. The most common reasons for admission were as follows: falls (n=44, 14%), pneumonia (n=37, 11%), urinary tract infection (n=28, 9%), reduced mobility (n=27, 8%), psychiatric (n=26, 8%), angina (n=21, 6%), heart failure (n=20, 6%), fracture (n=14, 4%), orthostatic hypotension (n=13, 4%), surgical (n=13, 4%), upper gastrointestinal bleed (n=10, 3%), stroke/transient ischemic attack (n=8, 2%), and myocardial infarction (n=7, 2%). The mean length of stay for the PD patients on the care of elderly ward specializing in PD care was 21.3 days compared to 17.8 days for non-PD patients. After hospital admission, there was a reduction in those who returned to their own home from 179 to 163 and there was an increase in those requiring nursing home care from 37 to 52. Infections, cardiovascular diseases, falls, reduced mobility, and psychiatric complications accounted for the majority of admissions. By better understanding the way people with PD use hospital services, we may improve quality of care and perhaps prevent some inpatient stays and care-home placements.
(c) 2005 Movement Disorder Society.