Does outpatient palliative care improve patient-centered outcomes in Parkinson's disease: Rationale, design, and implementation of a pragmatic comparative effectiveness trial

Contemp Clin Trials. 2019 Apr:79:28-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2019.02.005. Epub 2019 Feb 16.


Patients with Parkinson's disease and related disorders (PDRD) and their families have considerable unmet needs including non-motor symptom management, caregiver support, spiritual wellbeing, advance care planning, and end-of-life care. There is increasing interest in applying palliative care (PC) models to better meet these needs. While PC has been shown to improve care and quality of life (QOL) for people with cancer and heart failure, few studies have evaluated the role of PC for people with PDRD. Well-designed clinical trials are needed to optimize the PC approach for PDRD and to influence policy and implementation efforts. We initiated a randomized multicenter comparative effectiveness trial of team-based outpatient PC versus usual care for people with PDRD and their caregivers. The primary aims of this study are to determine the effects of PC on patient QOL and caregiver burden. Qualitative interviews will be utilized to gain additional insights into the impact of PC on participants, the outcomes that matter most to this population, and to find opportunities to refine future interventions and trials. As a novel application of PC, challenges involved in the design of this study include choosing appropriate inclusion criteria, standardizing the intervention, defining usual care, and choosing outcome measures suitable to our research questions. Challenges involved in implementation include participant recruitment, retention, and management of participant burden. We anticipate the results of this trial will have relevance for both clinical care and future clinical research trial design in evaluating models of PC for people with PDRD and other serious illnesses.

Keywords: Atypical parkinsonian disorders; Comparative effectiveness; Palliative care; Parkinson's disease; Quality of life; Randomized clinical trial.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Ambulatory Care* / organization & administration
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Palliative Care* / organization & administration
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / psychology
  • Parkinsonian Disorders* / therapy
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient-Centered Care* / organization & administration
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Quality of Life*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design