The Perfect Storm: When Parkinson Patients Enter the Hospital

This article features Hooman Azmi, M.D., director of the Division of Functional and Restorative Neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. Dr. Azmi is also the co-author of “Parkinson’s Disease for the Hospitalist: Managing the Complex Care of a Vulnerable Population.” According to Dr. Azmi, when a patient enters a hospital, whether it’s for an elective or more urgent matter, the main focus of the care team is to address the chief complaint.  Dr. Azmi says while this may not be detrimental to patients in most circumstances, it can be very impactful on patients who have Parkinson disease (PD). Studies have demonstrated that when patients with PD enter the hospital, they are more susceptible to developing hospital related complications. Patients with PD generally have a greater length of stay than those entering the hospital for the same diagnosis without PD, and can develop complications such as dysphagia, confusion and falls impacting their outcomes.