Elderly Patient in Hospital

Pandemic Impact on Parkinson’s Patients

Angie Szumlinski Health, Studies

Since December 2019, the world has been influenced by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) which is caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). As of February 18, 2021, approximately 110 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2.4 million deaths have been reported around the world. The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020 has indirectly and directly affected patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Indirect effects comprise a large impact on health care provision including a reduction in overall hospitalizations.

Chronic illnesses require an extensive service of care including hospitalizations in cases of exacerbation of primary neurologic disease or because of worsened comorbidities. The numbers of patients who had to be hospitalized for treatment of PD concomitant disease has strongly risen in the last year. Direct effects of COVID-19 on PD were those that led to significant worsening of motor and nonmotor symptoms which were attributed to both infection-related mechanisms and impaired pharmacokinetics of dopaminergic therapy. Various publications have shown that patients with PD are significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a study published in the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder publication, the COVID-19 pandemic strongly affects healthcare provision for PD patients. It is of special importance that overall inpatient mortality of PD patients was increased, independent of COVID-19 status. Care must be taken to ensure that optimal treatment for hospitalized PD patients is always guaranteed, and that potentially competing priorities do not have a negative impact on PD care during and after this pandemic. Stay well and stay tuned!