Palliative care for Parkinson's disease: has the time come?

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2015 May;15(5):26. doi: 10.1007/s11910-015-0542-4.


Although Parkinson's disease (PD) is traditionally viewed as a movement disorder which affects quality of life, recent literature has revealed an increased mortality, a high burden of difficult-to-manage non-motor symptoms (e.g., pain, fatigue), high caregiver distress, and a high utilization of medical services especially in the last year of life. Current medical systems have yet to adequately respond to this mounting evidence through the adoption of palliative care practices and through the provision of palliative care services to both PD patients and to affected families. This holistic, interdisciplinary approach to practice would enhance care delivery, identify and address unmet needs, and avoid interventions and hospitalizations especially in the last months of life. As we approach an era of increased life expectancy, increasing comorbidities among patients, and escalating healthcare costs, physicians must be proactive in focusing on quality of life, reducing medical interventions, and respecting patient autonomy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Palliative Care / trends*
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Quality of Life