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We must do better for Parkinson's patients

Posted by
Scott Fleming, UK Communications
According to a new UK study1 - the largest of its kind ever carried out in England - people with Parkinson's are almost 2.5 times as likely to die following an emergency admission. For those aged over 85 years of age, the risk of dying after emergency hospitalisation is 1 in 10.

There are a variety of reasons why people with Parkinson's are hospitalised. The most common reasons for admission are pneumonia, poor motor control, urinary tract infection or a hip fracture. The study shows that people with Parkinson’s who are admitted as an emergency admission have poor outcomes.

Longer hospital stays
The research, conducted by UCB and three leading UK-based experts, also showed that Parkinson’s patients were almost twice as likely to stay in hospital for more than 3 months compared to other patients.

This means that if you have Parkinson's and have an emergency admission you are also more likely to spend long periods in a hospital bed. On average, the length of stay for emergency admissions in Parkinson's disease was seven days longer than admissions from all other causes.

For patients and their families, this is a  concern. For the wider society too, it is a burden. The majority of admissions by people with Parkinson are unplanned emergency admissions. They cost the UK health service almost £200 million (€278 million) per year – around £3,338 (€4,647) per patient on average. By contrast, planned hospital stays cost around £1,417 (€1,973) per person.

Many developed countries have ageing populations. Keeping people healthy in their own communities is an important part of running an efficient and sustainable healthy system.

Parkinson’s UK state that these distressing and costly hospitalisations are potentially avoidable. With the right approach to early interventions and good disease management, the number of emergency hospitalisations for people with Parkinson's can be reduced.

That would mean fewer people being rushed to hospital, fewer lengthy stays and fewer people dying in hospital.

By taking a more proactive approach to Parkinson's care we can help to preserve the dignity of people with Parkinson's disease.

1. Low V, et al., Measuring the burden and mortality of hospitalisation in Parkinson's disease: A cross-sectional analysis of the English Hospital Episodes Statistics database 2009-2013, Parkinsonism and Related Disorders (2015)

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