Parkinson's Disease in a rehabilitation Unit during Lockdown 1.0

By Dr Eladia Ruiz-Mendoza, Consultant Geriatrician, North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust


This project was awarded runner-up .

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To explore the use of rehabilitation units by people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) during the first UK lockdown of March to June 2020.


  • While the rate of acute admissions among people with PD increased during the first lockdown, use of the rehabilitation unit remained stable
  • The rehabilitation unit saw an increase in admissions among those with more advanced disease
  • Mortality at six months after time of admission increased significantly

Key findings

The team compared PD patients admitted to the rehabilitation centre between March and June 2019 with those admitted in the same period in 2020. They found:

  • the mean time from diagnosis in 2019 was seven years, compared to 12 years in 2020
  • mortality at six months after admission was 0% in 2019, compared 66% in 2020. This was independent of rehabilitation programme
  • the number of community-led referrals to the rehabilitation unit doubled between 2019 and 2020 while the rate of hospital-led referrals remained the same
  • the most common PD symptoms upon admission included constipation, falls, confusion, and sleep disorders


The reasons for increased risk of mortality among people with PD during the pandemic are under review. In the meantime, teams in all settings should try to identify strategies that could help mitigate this risk.

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