• Delayed administration of dopaminergic drugs is not associated with prolonged length of stay of hospitalized patients with Parkinson's disease.

      Skelly, Robert; Brown, Lisa (2016-11)
      BACKGROUND: Punctual delivery of dopaminergic medication to Parkinson's disease (PD) patients may be important in optimizing disease control. We tested the hypothesis that prompt delivery of l-dopa medications to emergency hospital inpatients was associated with a decreased length of stay in hospital. METHODS: The study population consisted of all urgent hospitalizations for patients with a diagnosis of PD to the Royal Derby Hospital over a two-year period. Data were extracted on timing of delivery of drugs, number of co-morbidities and length of stay. Statistical analysis used linear regression adjusting for within admission clustering. RESULTS: 431 individuals provided data from a total of 737 admissions. 39% of scheduled l-dopa doses were either not given or administered over 30 min later than the scheduled time. There was no association between the omission or timing of a dose of PD medication and length of stay in hospital. The number of coded diagnoses was strongly associated with length of stay with a dose-response association (pTREND<0.001). Those with 10 concurrent diagnoses had a 11 day longer stay (95% confidence intervals: +2 to +21) than those with no comorbidities. CONCLUSIONS: Delayed administration of dopaminergic drugs is not associated with prolonged length of stay of in patients with PD who were admitted to hospital as an emergency. However, the number of co-existing medical diagnoses was associated with length of stay, and early attention to these has the potential to improve patient care and decrease length of stay in hospital.
    • Does a specialist unit improve outcomes for hospitalized patients with Parkinson's disease?

      Skelly, Robert; Brown, Lisa; Fakis, Apostolos; Kimber, Lindsey; Downes, Charlotte; Lindop, Fiona; Johnson, Clare; Bartliff, Caroline; Bajaj, Nin (2014-11)
      OBJECTIVE: Suboptimal management of Parkinson's disease (PD) medication in hospital may lead to avoidable complications. We introduced an in-patient PD unit for those admitted urgently with general medical problems. We explored the effect of the unit on medication management, length of stay and patient experience. METHODS: We conducted a single-center prospective feasibility study. The unit's core features were defined following consultation with patients and professionals: specially trained staff, ready availability of PD drugs, guidelines, and care led by a geriatrician with specialty PD training. Mandatory staff training comprised four 1 h sessions: PD symptoms; medications; therapy; communication and swallowing. Most medication was prescribed using an electronic Prescribing and Administration system (iSOFT) which provided accurate data on time of administration. We compared patient outcomes before and after introduction of the unit. RESULTS: The general ward care (n = 20) and the Specialist Parkinson's Unit care (n = 24) groups had similar baseline characteristics. On the specialist unit: less Parkinson's medication was omitted (13% vs 20%, p < 0.001); of the medication that was given, more was given on time (64% vs 50%, p < 0.001); median length of stay was shorter (9 days vs 13 days, p = 0.043) and patients' experience of care was better (p = 0.01). DISCUSSION: If replicated and generalizable to other hospitals, reductions in length of stay would lead to significant cost savings. The apparent improved outcomes with Parkinson's unit care merit further investigation. We hope to test the hypothesis that specialized units are cost-effective and improve patient care using a randomized controlled trial design.