The Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital Parkinson’s Disease Program provides each patient with a comprehensive team of Nurses, Physical, Occupational and Speech Language therapists who address issues of mobility, balance, self-care, speech intelligibility and swallowing. Psychology may be incorporated to assist patients with coping. Comprehensive assessments help determine the treatment program unique to each patient’s individual needs. Working closely with the patient’s physician and family, a treatment plan is developed and goals established.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterized by common symptoms:
- Tremor of a limb when resting
- Slowness of movement also known as bradykinesia
- Rigidity or stiffness of the limbs or trunk
- Poor balance
- Shuffling gait
- Impaired speech intelligibility (dysarthria)
- Swallowing impairment (dysphagia)
Initially, symptoms may be variable with a combination of tremor, slow movements, rigidity and balance problems. Symptoms usually start on one side of the body but gradually extend to the entire body. Changes are also seen in facial expression which is often referred to as the patient having a blank expression and showing little emotion. As symptoms progress gradually, older patients may believe these changes are due to aging.
Patients with Parkinson’s disease may need comprehensive inpatient services if they experience a decline in their medical status resulting in hospitalization. Intensive therapy, medical management and rehab nursing staff work together with the patient and family to assist the
patient in achieving their optimum functional outcome. The goal is to be discharged safely home returning for outpatient therapy sessions.
LSVT Big® is an intensive outpatient exercise program for those individuals with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions. The goal of LSVT Big is to teach patients an improved way of moving in everyday life so that common movements provide continuous exercise. This
program uses the philosophy that larger amplitude, whole body, functional movements will train the individual for carryover of faster walking with bigger steps, improved balance and increased trunk rotation.
The “Even Bigger” PD Wellness Exercise classes are held every Thursday 12-12:45 in the outpatient gym. They are run in 12 week sessions for patients who have completed LSVT BIG physical therapy and wish to continue their exercises in a group wellness setting. The cost is only $50 for the 12 week course. Classes are led by our LSVT BIG certified clinicians. For more information, or to enroll, please contact Jen Robinson, PT at 812-941-6153.
LSVT Loud® is an intensive outpatient speech therapy program designed to improve vocal loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box (larynx). Exercises progress through a hierarchy of challenge focused on the single goal of having the patient speak loudly. The treatment improves the muscles of the respiratory system, the laryngeal system, and the oral
motor system resulting in improved speech intelligibility. By strengthening the muscle systems, the patient may also see benefit in improved swallowing function.
When Should Therapy Begin?
Therapy should begin early after the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. People with PD rarely seek rehab treatment until their disability has impaired their function, usually characterized by the loss of balance, difficulty swallowing, or impaired speech intelligibility. Even though medications are very effective early on at alleviating most of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, research suggests that you should not wait until you begin to experience problems to begin treatment.