Loss of independence in early Parkinson disease: A 5-year population-based incident cohort study

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



To determine the risk, predictors, and prognosis of independence loss and institutionalization in patients with early Parkinson disease (PD).


We conducted a prospective population-based 5-year longitudinal study following 189 patients with incident PD and 174 controls matched for age, sex, and comorbidity. Health care status was assessed repeatedly with standardized interviews.


More newly diagnosed patients with PD (15.9%) than controls (5.7%) were dependent in activities of daily living at baseline (relative risk [RR] 2.8, p = 0.004). During follow-up, 40.9% of the initially independent patients lost their independence vs 9.1% of controls (RR 4.5, p < 0.001). Higher age, shorter symptom duration, increasing motor severity, and presence of mild cognitive impairment at PD diagnosis independently predicted independence loss during follow-up. Dependency was irreversible in most (>95%) patients. Long-term care facility placement was needed in 8.8% of patients vs 0.6% of controls (RR 15.4, p = 0.001). More patients with PD admitted to long-term care facilities were fallers (RR 4.8, p < 0.001), had hallucinations (RR 4.4, p = 0.001), or had dementia (RR 4.2, p < 0.001) than home-dwelling patients. Once admitted to a long-term care facility, the age-adjusted RR for death during the study period was 5.5 (p = 0.002) vs patients never admitted and 25.1 (p < 0.001) vs controls.


Patients with early PD face a substantially greater risk of independence loss and institutionalization than well-matched controls. Independence loss is irreversible in most patients and represents a sinister prognostic factor in early PD. These findings have implications for patient management and health care planning.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles