Parkinson's disease and related disorders (PDRD) are the second most common neurodegenerative disease and a leading cause of death. However, patients with PDRD receive less end-of-life palliative care (hospice) than other illnesses, including other neurologic illnesses. Identification of predictors of PDRD mortality may aid in increasing appropriate and timely referrals. To systematically review the literature for causes of death and predictors of mortality in PDRD to provide guidance regarding hospice/end-of-life palliative care referrals. We searched MEDLINE, PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL databases (1970-2020) of original quantitative research using patient-level, provider-level or caregiver-level data from medical records, administrative data or survey responses associated with mortality, prognosis or cause of death in PDRD. Findings were reviewed by an International Working Group on PD and Palliative Care supported by the Parkinson's Foundation. Of 1183 research articles, 42 studies met our inclusion criteria. We found four main domains of factors associated with mortality in PDRD: (1) demographic and clinical markers (age, sex, body mass index and comorbid illnesses), (2) motor dysfunction and global disability, (3) falls and infections and (4) non-motor symptoms. We provide suggestions for consideration of timing of hospice/end-of-life palliative care referrals. Several clinical features of advancing disease may be useful in triggering end-of-life palliative/hospice referral. Prognostic studies focused on identifying when people with PDRD are nearing their final months of life are limited. There is further need for research in this area as well as policies that support need-based palliative care for the duration of PDRD.
Umer Akbar, Robert Brett McQueen, Julienne Bemski, Julie Carter, Elizabeth R Goy, Jean Kutner, Miriam J Johnson, Janis M Miyasaki, Benzi Kluger