Life-sustaining treatment orders, location of death and co-morbid conditions in decedents with Parkinson's disease

Keiran K. Tuck, Dana M. Zive, Terri A. Schmidt, Julie Carter, John Nutt, Erik K. Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Introduction: End-of-life care in Parkinson's Disease (PD) is poorly described. Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) forms specify how much life-sustaining treatment to provide. This study aims to better understand end-of-life care in PD using data from the Oregon POLST and Death Registries. Methods: Oregon death certificates from the years 2010-2011 were analyzed. Death certificates were matched with forms in the Oregon POLST Registry. Descriptive analyses were performed for both the full PD dataset as well as those with POLST forms. Results: There were 1073 (1.8%) decedents with PD listed as a cause of death and 56,961 without. Three hundred and seventy three (35%) decedents with PD had a POLST form. POLST preferences were not significantly different between those with or without PD, however location of death was; hospital (13% PD vs 24% without p < 0.01), home (32% vs 40% p < 0.01) and care facility (52% vs 29% p < 0.01). Compared to those without a POLST or those without a Comfort Measures Only (CMO) order, decedents with PD and a CMO order were less likely to die in a hospital (5.4% vs 14.7% p < 0.01) and more likely to die at home (39.1% vs 29.1% p < 0.01). In those with PD, dementia was the most common comorbid condition listed on death certificates (16%). Conclusion: Decedents with PD die less frequently at home than the general population. POLST forms mitigate some of this discrepancy. While not often thought to be terminal, PD and its complications are commonly recorded causes of death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2744
Pages (from-to)1205-1209
Number of pages5
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Advance care planning
  • Location of death
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Physician orders for life sustaining treatment (POLST)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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