This study aims to provide economic evidence of the cost-effectiveness of employing specialist Parkinson's nurses in a regional community in Australia.Study design
This retrospective study utilized hospital service usage data to compare outcomes for people with Parkinson's disease before and after the employment of a specialist Parkinson's nurse in a regional community.Methods
A representative sample was drawn from the target population of people with a diagnosis of Parkinson's admitted to a regional hospital over a 4-year period (2013–2014 and 2016–2017). A multiple regression approach and cost–benefit analysis were used to examine hospital costs related to length of stay based on hospital records. All costs were attributed to resource allocation according to service category and the national funding system. Quantitative data were analysed using Strata Analytics.Results
Statistical findings demonstrated a reduction in hospital length of stay ranging from 0.37 (AUD$1924) to 0.755 day (AUD$3926) after the establishment of the specialist Parkinson's nurse. The cost–benefit analysis showed a net dollar benefit, or savings in hospital costs, of up to $8600.00 per person over a 3-year period, as a result of the specialist Parkinson's nurse intervention.Conclusion
The statistical results show significant cost benefits associated with reduced length of hospital stay following introduction of the specialist Parkinson's nurse. These findings support advocacy for sustainable specialist Parkinson's nurse positions and have the potential to inform and influence policy and systemic changes within the health care system.