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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Sep 28, 2017
The span and scope of NCH are even broader and deeper than one would expect as I recently learned when prompted by a grateful wife’s email submitted to the Naples Daily News and shared with me by the Supervisor of NCH’s Marco Outpatient Rehab, John Campbell.

My husband, Ken, has just finished a month long program at NCH Marco Island for help with voice and movement due to Parkinson's.  The therapist, Chris Bliss, had special training in the LSVTBIG program designed to help victims of this disease increase flexibility and motor skills!  It has truly been a miracle for my husband!  He stopped shuffling when walking and his balance is unbelievably improved.  Many neurologists don't discuss this program.  Perhaps they are unfamiliar with it!  I found out about it without a doctor’s help!  I believe many patients could be helped if they knew about this program and were dedicated to work hard to improve their lifestyle.  Ken brought a cake to Chris to celebrate his graduation!  

LSVTBIG was news to me, too.  I consulted with Director of Therapy Operations Vince Laz and Manager of Outpatient Rehab Services at Briggs Health Pavilion Ingrid Gilbert who directed me to Occupational Therapist Chris Beams, as well as Speech Therapists Carrie Anderson and Karen Moss for an enlightening education.

Evidenced-based exercises for functional activities that change the amplitude, namely the size of movements, for Parkinson’s patients from small to normal by emphasizing doing everything in a large, exaggerated manner works very effectively.  Patients usually have an “aha” moment early in the program.    

Many patients with movement disorders suffer from not having a functional feedback loop, so they mistakenly think they are moving normally when, in fact, their movements are markedly diminished.  By learning to “exaggerate” movements with this bigger movement becoming the new normal, actual functional ability improves as the movement size returns to being functional. 

Chris Beams showed me a sample of the intensive, hour-long, four times per week for a month session in which the patient mirrors Chris’ markedly exaggerated motions.  I was tired just watching.  Chris also uses the patient’s own handheld device, e.g. iPhone, to take videos, which remind folks when they graduate to continue at home to maintain their improvement. 

Carrie and Karen encourage patients to increase their voices’ volume and pitch by repeating common sentences and measuring decibel levels on an iPad.  As comfort and confidence improve, Parkinson’s patients become more interactive with family and friends.  Carrie also organizes a “Volume Speaks” program, gathering graduates of the program in a small group to practice speaking together.  Seeing “other ships at sea” also improve is an added benefit.       

It’s amazing to witness patients’ progress without drugs or side-effects and to feel the enthusiasm of our Rehab team members as they help a special group of folks live longer, happier, and healthier lives. 

AUTHOR

Allen Weiss, MD

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.