Research Article

Parkinson's disease as community health problem: study in Norwegian nursing homes. The Norwegian Study Group of Parkinson's Disease in the Elderly.

BMJ 1991; 303 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.303.6805.741 (Published 28 September 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;303:741
  1. J P Larsen
  1. Department of Neurology, Central Hospital of Rogaland, Stavanger, Norway.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE--To examine the extent of under-diagnosis and overdiagnosis of Parkinson's disease and to determine quality of treatment in a defined population. DESIGN--Clinical evaluation of an elderly population. SETTING--40 Norwegian nursing homes. SUBJECTS--3322 residents of nursing homes, of whom 500 were selected by nursing staff for evaluation on the basis of a structured information programme on Parkinson's disease and 269 were examined in detail by neurologists. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Patients' scores on clinical rating scales, diagnosis of parkinsonism, and effect of changing drug treatment. RESULTS--169 (5.1%) patients were found to have clinical idiopathic Parkinson's disease, 31 of whom had not had the disease diagnosed previously. In addition, 31 patients without the disease were taking antiparkinsonian drugs unnecessarily. Eighty patients were judged to be receiving "optimal" treatment. In the remaining 58, the treatment was changed, and 36 patients showed a definite functional improvement after a 12 week observation period. CONCLUSIONS--The quality of life of many elderly patients with Parkinson's disease could be improved by increasing medical and neurological services.