Palliative care (PC) is an approach to the care of persons affected by serious illness that focuses on reducing suffering by addressing medical, psychosocial, and spiritual needs. Persons living with Parkinson disease have PC needs that begin at the time of diagnosis and continue throughout the course of the illness including nonmotor symptom burden, caregiver distress, grief, and increased mortality. Primary PC refers to essential PC skills that may be practiced by nonpalliative medicine specialists to improve outcomes for their patients.
Background: This case report describes a patient with known idiopathic Parkinson’s disease, being managed with transdermal rotigotine, whose refractory nausea and vomiting was successfully controlled with subcutaneous levomepromazine. No drug-induced extrapyramidal side effects emerged.
Case presentation: A patient was found to have a locally advanced serous carcinoma, causing secondary bowel obstruction. Furthermore, due to compromised oral access, the patient’s oral antiparkinsonian medications for motor control were converted to transdermal rotigotine. Unfortunately, the patient’s nausea and vomiting was refractory to a number of recommended antiemetic options.
Case management: Low dose levomepromazine was administered on a, ‘when required’ basis, via subcutaneous injection.
Case outcome: After the first dose of levomepromazine, the patient’s nausea and vomiting completely subsided and no extrapyramidal side effects were observed. This was confirmed by daily assessments, revealing no worsening of the motor symptoms associated with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.
Conclusions: The pharmacology of rotigotine and levomepromazine appear complementary and may allow for the simultaneous use of both drugs, with favourable outcomes. This case report highlights that rotigotine may afford protection against antipsychotic induced extrapyramidal side effects, while preserving antiemetic effects. Such combinations may have a role in the end-of-life management of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder with an increased morbidity and mortality. People with PD (PwP) may suffer from decreased quality of life due to various motor and nonmotor symptoms. To a huge proportion, PwP have written an advance directive (AD); however, the content of these forms in regard to PD-specific complications is unclear. The aim of this study was to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze ADs of PwP in Germany. ADs of PwP were analyzed in a German sample of members of the German PD patient association. Participants completed a questionnaire about their AD and sent a copy of their AD to the study center for detailed analyses. ADs were qualitatively and quantitatively analyzed for general and PD-specific aspects and usefulness concerning treatment decisions. 82 PwP were included in the study, and in 76, an AD could be analyzed. Family members, notaries, lawyers, and general physicians mainly counseled writing of the ADs. 4 PwP consulted a neurologist to establish a specific AD for PD. In the analysis, ADs displayed a good specificity for general aspects, but they were unspecific to PD in the vast majority of cases. PwP should be encouraged to create an AD early in their disease and adapt it in the course of the disease. PD-specific aspects for an AD could be details in relation to dopaminergic therapies at the end of life, management of non-oral advanced therapies, neuropsychiatric symptoms, dementia, and swallowing disturbances.
INTRODUCTION: Quality of life (QOL) assessments allow for more complete evaluation of patients' lived experiences in relation to chronic conditions, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). In palliative care, such instruments are vital to ensure QOL issues are catalogued and addressed for patients. However, little is known regarding the psychometric properties of quality of life scales for use in palliative care for PD, specifically.
METHODS: 210 participants with parkinsonian disorders, who participated in a larger palliative intervention clinical trial, completed four quality of life scales (PDQ-39, PROMIS-29, QOL-AD, and McGill QOL) at baseline and post-intervention. Psychometric properties, including internal consistency and concurrent validity, were examined. Factor analyses were performed to evaluate relationships between scale items. Minimal clinically important differences (MCID) and responsiveness were calculated for each scale.
RESULTS: All scales demonstrated good internal consistency and concurrent validity. Factor analyses revealed few deviations from the defined subdomains of the scales. Mean absolute MCID values were estimated at 12.7, 10.9, 3.9, and 18.9 for PDQ-39, PROMIS-29, QOL-AD, and McGill QOL, respectively. The PDQ-39 and PROMIS-29 demonstrated higher responsiveness to palliative intervention, while the QOL-AD was more responsive in the control group.
CONCLUSIONS: The PDQ-39, PROMIS-29, QOL-AD, and McGill QOL are all valid for use in PD palliative care, though subdomains of the scales in this population may differ slightly from those initially defined. We recommend the use of PDQ-39 and PROMIS-29 as outcome measures in clinical trials for palliative care in PD, though the QOL-AD may be superior for tracking disease progression.
BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic and neurodegenerative disease associated with a wide variety of symptoms. The risk of complications increases with progression of the disease. These complications have a tremendous impact on the quality of life of people with PD. The aim of this study was to examine health care professionals' experiences of potential barriers and facilitators in providing palliative care for people with PD in the Netherlands.
METHODS: This was a qualitative descriptive study. The data were collected from 10 individual in-depth interviews and three focus groups (n = 29) with health care professionals. Health care professionals were selected based on a positive answer to the question: “In the past 2 years, did you treat or support a person with PD who subsequently died?” The data were analyzed by thematic text analysis.
RESULTS: Health care professionals supported the development of a palliative care system for PD but needed to better understand the essence of palliative care. In daily practice, they struggled to identify persons' needs due to interfering PD-specific symptoms such as cognitive decline and communication deficits. Timely addressing the personal preferences for providing palliative care was identified as an important facilitator. Health care professionals acknowledged being aware of their lack of knowledge and of their little competence in managing complex PD. Findings indicate a perceived lack of care continuity, fragmentation of services, time pressure and information discontinuity.
CONCLUSIONS: Health care professionals experienced several facilitators and barriers to the provision of palliative care to people with PD. There is a need to improve the knowledge on complex PD and the continuity of information, as well as optimize coordination and deliver care based on a persons' preferences. Additional training can help to become more knowledgeable and confident.
Sexuality and intimacy are poorly researched in both people living with Parkinson's and in older people. Triggers for discussion usually centre on sexual dysfunction and hypersexuality in relation to Parkinson's. However, there are many more factors that impact on physical and emotional connectedness. Despite highlighting this unmet need there are limited tools or comprehensive assessments available to help improve quality of life. Further research is required within this field, with emphasis on health professionals' education and on highlighting to patients that they have permission for this topic to be discussed and actioned.
Hospice documentation is an integral part of patient care as it not only paints the picture of hospice eligibility, but also tells the final chapter of a patient’s life. Increasingly, hospices are under scrutiny by regulators to clearly define the admission and ongoing eligibility of the hospice patient. There is a lack of national standardization of documentation. The World Health Organization, in an effort to develop a common language among providers, developed the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Utilizing the ICF can assist with the documentation that establishes the eligibility of the hospice patient. Concepts from the ICF are applied to a case study of a patient with Parkinson’s disease. The ICF has barriers and limitations for documentation of the eligibility of the hospice patient, but overall, its use is recommended by the hospice interdisciplinary team.
Objectives: Palliative care addresses the suffering of patients and families affected by progressive illness through the management of medical symptoms, psychosocial issues, and spiritual concerns. Although there is an emerging interest in applying palliative care to Parkinson's disease (PD), potential palliative care needs have not been systematically investigated in PD patients. Our primary objective was to determine the prevalence of clinically significant symptomatic, psychosocial, and spiritual issues in PD and understand their impact on health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Secondary objectives included comparing the level of palliative care needs of PD patients to advanced cancer patients and assessing preferences for advance care planning.
Methods: Ninety PD patients and 47 patients with advanced cancer were surveyed regarding potential palliative care needs, including symptom burden, mood, anticipatory grief, and spiritual well-being. PD patients completed additional scales regarding HRQOL, motor symptoms, cognitive impairment, and preferences regarding advance care planning.
Results: Potential palliative care needs, including high symptom burden and grief, were common in PD patients and contributed to HRQOL even when controlling for depression and motor severity. In all domains investigated, PD patients had similar or higher levels of palliative care needs as patients with advanced cancer. PD patients expressed a desire to complete advance directives early in the disease course and with a physician.
Conclusions: Palliative care needs contribute to HRQOL in PD and are of similar severity as cancer patients. This study supports and helps focus efforts to integrate palliative care principles in PD care across the spectrum of the disease.
Nonmotor symptoms likely affect overall quality of life in Parkinson's disease (PD) as much as motor symptoms. Fast Fact #361 discussed the natural trajectory of PD. This Fast Fact will focus on management stratégies of common nonmotor symptoms in PD patients.
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INTRODUCTION: The utilization of advance directives in individuals with Parkinson's disease (PD) and atypical parkinsonian disorders (APD) and their caregivers requires further investigation. This study determined the utilization rates of four forms of advance directives: living will, durable power of attorney, durable power of attorney for healthcare, and medical orders in these individuals. We hypothesized that having a neurodegenerative parkinsonian disorder or exposure to these disorders would increase the likelihood of having advance directives.
METHODS: 50 PD participants, 49 APD participants, 50 caregivers and 50 non-caregiver controls were surveyed regarding advance directives.
RESULTS: The median number of advance directives was 1 in controls, 2 in caregivers and PD participants and 3 in APD participants. Patients with PD were 4.08 times more likely to have durable power of attorney (p < 0.001) and 2.08 times more likely to have durable power of attorney for healthcare (p = 0.011) than controls. Patients with APD were 1.66 times more likely to have a living will (p = 0.006), 4.81 times more likely to have a durable power of attorney (p < 0.001) and 2.47 times more likely to have a durable power of attorney for healthcare (p = 0.003) than controls. Caregivers were1.58 times more likely to have a living will (p = 0.012) and 2.21 times more likely to have a durable power of attorney for healthcare than controls.
CONCLUSION: Having or being exposed to parkinsonian disorders significantly increases the likelihood of utilizing advance directives. Additionally, exposure to a parkinsonian disorder as a caregiver increases advance directive use.
Patients with neurologic illnesses are commonly encountered by palliative care (PC) clinicians though many clinicians feel uncomfortable caring for these patients. Understanding how to diagnose, treat, communicate with, and prognosticate for neurology patients will improve the confidence and competence of PC providers in the neurology setting. This article offers PC providers 10 useful tips that neurologists with PC training think all PC providers should know to improve care for patients with neurologic illness.
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.
Background: Chronic progressive neurological diseases like high grade glioma (HGG), Parkinson's disease (PD), and multiple sclerosis (MS) are incurable, and associated with increasing disability including cognitive impairment, and reduced life expectancy. Patients with these diseases have complex care needs. Therefore, timely advance care planning (ACP) is required. Our aim was to investigate timing and content of discussions on treatment restrictions, i.e., to initiate, withhold, or withdraw treatment in patients with HGG, PD, and MS, from the neurologists' perspective. Methods: We performed a national online survey amongst consultants in neurology and residents in The Netherlands. The questionnaire focused on their daily practice concerning timing and content of discussions on treatment restrictions with patients suffering from HGG, PD or MS. We also inquired about education and training in discussing these issues. Results: A total of 125 respondents [89 neurologists (71%), 62% male, with a median age of 44 years, and 36 residents (29%), 31% male with a median age of 29 years] responded. Initial discussions on treatment restrictions were said to take place during the first year after diagnosis in 28% of patients with HGG, and commonly no earlier than in the terminal phase in patients with PD and MS. In all conditions, significant cognitive decline was the most important trigger to advance discussions, followed by physical decline, and initiation of the terminal phase. Most discussed issues included ventilation, resuscitation, and admission to the intensive care unit. More than half of the consultants in neurology and residents felt that they needed (more) education and training in having discussions on treatment restrictions.
Conclusion: In patients with HGG discussions on treatment restrictions are initiated earlier than in patients with PD or MS. However, in all three diseases these discussions usually take place when significant physical and cognitive decline has become apparent and commonly mark the initiation of end-of-life care. More than half of the responding consultants in neurology and residents feel the need for improvement of their skills in performing these discussions.
Background: The use of specific triggers has been suggested to help identify patients with progressive neurological disease who would benefit from palliative care.
Aim: This study aimed to improve the evidence base for the use of triggers for patients with progressive neurological disease.
Design: An evaluation of palliative care services was undertaken using a retrospective case note review of the timing and presence of triggers in the last 2 years of life.
Setting/Participants: A total of 12 specialist palliative care units across the United Kingdom provided data from 300 patients: mean patient age 70 years, 50% male, diagnoses included motor neurone disease 58%, Parkinson's disease 17% and Parkinson's Plus syndromes 12%.
Results: There was a high burden of triggers - 17 in the last 2 years of life and 10 in the last 6 months of life. The most frequent triggers were deteriorating physical function, complex symptoms and dysphagia. Four factors were found to explain 64% of the total variance: Factor 1 - Deterioration in physical function, dysphagia, significant complex symptoms and pain; Factor 2 - Weight loss and respiratory symptoms; Factor 3 - Recurrent infections and cognitive decline; Factor 4 - Aspiration pneumonia. Cox regression analyses found different triggers were associated with survival from diagnosis versus survival from referral to palliative care. Different triggers were also associated with survival for different neurological conditions.
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that there is a high burden of triggers in the last months and years of life and that these could potentially be reduced to fewer components. Prospective studies assessing which triggers are useful for different conditions are now required.
Our interdisciplinary mixed-methods exploratory study was aimed at gaining empirical data on the medical and nursing demands of residents who are in a late stage of Parkinson Disease (PD) and are cared for in residential homes in Salzburg (Austria). In earlier studies it has been concluded that symptom burden of late stage PD patients is similar to or even higher compared with oncological patients. However, although all nine residents who took part in our study had severe limitations in performing their daily activities and experienced enormous restrictions in their mobility, they were quite content with their present living situations and did not show significant symptom burden. From the ethnographic family interviews that we conducted the following features emerged: a strong closeness in the family, an improved quality of life when the patients lived in the nursing home and fears about the future. Therefore, we concluded that living in a nursing home that provides for the needs of these patients is the best option for PD patients in the final stages of their disease as well as for their relatives.
Parkinson's disease (PD) affects 1%-2% of individuals older than 60 years and is the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. People with PD, across all stages of the disease, suffer from a significant symptom burden that includes many nonmotor symptoms (such as depression, fatigue, pain, and dementia), and most will ultimately die from complications of this degenerative and incurable illness. Even at diagnosis, a palliative care (PC) approach can help the patient adjust to his or her diagnosis and maintain an optimal quality of life. We brought together a team of PD and PC experts to assemble practical tips for the care of people with PD. The "Top 10" format emphasizes the most relevant issues to enable PC clinicians to provide optimal care for those suffering with this complex neurodegenerative disease.
Cholinesterase inhibitors (CHEIs) are the most commonly prescribed agents to delay the progression of cognitive decline from dementia, Parkinson's disease, and other degenerative neurologic diseases. Yet, as dementia progresses, the effectiveness of CHEIs diminish while adverse effects can mount. Other Fast Facts addressed dementia's natural history (# 150) and tension points in medical decision making (# 84). This Fast Facts addresses deprescribing considerations for CHEIs.