Occupational Therapy: Making a Difference for Parkinson’s Patients
Are you or a loved one impacted by Parkinson’s Disease (PD)? Parkinson's is a chronic and progressive motor disease which could cause difficulty with walking, balance, stability, muscle stiffness, voice quality, swallowing and eating capability, slowness of movement and ability to participate in, or complete, daily activities.
It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the U.S. and Nebraska has the highest prevalence of PD per capita in the world. That’s why Rehabilitative Services at the Wellness Center has developed several programs to help those impacted by the disease.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease include, but are not limited to:
• Difficulty talking or having others understand your speech
• Trouble swallowing food, liquid or medications
• Problems dressing or undressing yourself
• Complications with walking, balance or falling
• Issues with vision
• Trouble participating within the community or outside of your home
Occupational therapists at Rehabilitative Services are available to help:
• Decrease stiffness with movement
• Increase ability to use buttons and zippers independently with less difficulty
• Provide strategies to improve efficiency and independence in activities of daily life
• Increase cardiovascular and muscular endurance
• Increase balance, which in turn, increases safety in the home and community
• Provide adaptations to workstations if necessary
• Improve safety with driving/car transfers
• Improve size and legibility of handwriting
• Increase muscular strength
• Educate about adaptive equipment, resources and needs
• Help determine if home modifications are needed
Rehabilitative Services also offers a comprehensive Parkinson Wellness Program.
The goal of the Parkinson Wellness Program is to reach people early in their diagnosis. Through a comprehensive team effort, experts can delay the effects of the disease and help improve quality of life, independence and active involvement in patients impacted by Parkinson’s.
Services within the Parkinson Wellness Program, both medically and wellness based, include:
• LSVT-BIG® - An intensive (4 times/week for 4 weeks) physical, whole-body, amplitude-based training protocol for individuals with PD.
• Parkinson Wellness Recovery–PWR!® - This is delivered by certified physical therapists focusing on early intervention, enrichment, education and empowerment of those living with PD.
• The CCH Parkinson’s Exercise Group - A medical wellness program where people with PD are able improve their quality of life by increasing their independence and enhancing their function. The goal is to get people with PD active and prevent the progression of disability from PD. Participants must either be a former LSVT-BIG® or PWR!® patient with CCH Rehabilitative Services or have been screened by one of our PTs or OTs.
• LSVT-LOUD® - An intensive (4 times/week for 4 weeks) speech therapy protocol used to improve the voice and swallow function for individuals with PD.
• SPEAK OUT!® - An intensive (3 times/week for 4 weeks) speech therapy voice program used to improve the voice and swallow function for individuals with PD.
• The CCH LOUD Crowd® - A weekly maintenance voice exercise group provided for people with PD or Parkinsonism, who have either participated in SPEAK OUT!® or LSVT-LOUD® voice therapy. The group is led by a licensed and certified speech language pathologist and is designed around a set of exercises that allow individuals to carry over the skills they learned in voice therapy so they are able to keep their voices and swallow function strong long after therapy has ended.
• Occupational therapy with a focus on Activities of Daily Living (ADL) such as the fine motor skills for dressing, bathing and grooming, reduction of hand tremor with adapted utensils for eating and writing (micrographia) and visual rehab.
• Columbus Area Parkinson’s Disease Support Group - Meets the second Thursday of the month in the CCH conference center (third floor) at 1:30 p.m. Guest speakers present information on topics the group members have selected with time afterward for questions/answers and sharing.
• PD Resource Library – Located in Rehabilitative Services, this includes supportive information from the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA), Parkinson Disease Foundation (PDF), The Parkinson’s Voice Project (Richardson, TX), PWR!Gym (Tucson, AZ) and the UNMC Movement Disorder Clinic. Also available are Speak Out!® workbooks, LSVT-LOUD® and BIG® Homework Helper DVDs and digital sound level meters for The CCH LOUD Crowd® participants.
For more information about any of the services provided in the Parkinson Wellness Program, contact Rehabilitative Services at 402-562-3333.
The CCH Rehab Services Parkinson Wellness Program has been made possible through the generous donations of the families of Dr. Jack Anderson and Leon Wragge to the Columbus Community Hospital Foundation and from the support of matching funds from CCH.