Hospitalization and Parkinson’s disease: safety, quality and outcomes

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Okun on the publication of “Hospitalization and Parkinson’s disease: safety, quality and outcomes,” which appears as an editorial in the April 4, 2024 edition of Frontiers .


For people with Parkinson’s (PWP), hospital admissions can be perilous. Nearly 300,000 PWP are admitted to the hospital each year in the US. Following admission, they are at an increased risk of complications that may lengthen their stay and increase the risks of both morbidity and mortality. These preventable hospital-occurring complications occur as a result of many factors.

The majority of PWP enter the hospital for non-PD related issues and are placed in alternative units rather than the neurology floor. Treatment teams may not be cognizant of a patient’s PD diagnosis or may alternatively be unfamiliar with special considerations for hospital safety for PWP.

The Parkinson’s Foundation Hospital Care Recommendations were recently created as a step toward eliminating preventable harm for PWP in the hospital. To advance this work, we as a field realized that there is a need to demonstrate the prevalence of challenges with both medication administration and overall management of the PWP in the hospital. To achieve meaningful data on patient outcomes and to realize cost savings, we need hospital systems to engage with quality champions and to harness the full potential of information technology and electronic heath records (EHR).

Our Topic series “Hospitalization and Parkinson’s disease: safety, quality and outcomes” was intended to encourage the discourse surrounding this issue and to further expand the knowledge base. This series includes thirteen publications written from varied perspectives, all centered on the hospitalization of PWP. The articles draw attention to the risks that PWP face in the hospital by providing a clearer idea of the magnitude of existing gaps in care, exploring of the impact of these gaps on both clinical and economic outcomes, and identifying best practices. This editorial is focused on three key themes: (1) understanding risk and outcomes, (2) improving hospital care, and (3) exploring hospitalization through community perspectives.