This study aims to improve recognition of hospice eligibility for patients with Parkinson disease (PD) by ascertaining which variables have a higher probability of occurring uniquely in 6 to 12 months before death when compared to 18 to 24 months before death. Participants were 339 patients who died who were diagnosed with PD or Parkinsonism and treated with dopaminergic prescriptions for at least 3 years in northwestern US Veterans Affairs medical centers. A range of indicators were compared across 3 time periods (30-36 months, 24-18 months, and 12-6 months before death) using within-subjects repeated measures design. Results indicate that body mass index less than 18, alone or combined with a shift in prescribing (when benefits of dopaminergic medications no longer outweigh their risk of side effects), may signal appropriate timing for hospice referral.
Keywords: Parkinson disease; hospice; palliative.
© The Author(s) 2013.