Horizon Health Offers Programs for Parkinson’s Disease

  • Category: News
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Horizon Health

Two programs at Horizon Health are helping individuals with Parkinson’s disease improve their quality of life.

The programs are designed to improve speech and body movement, which the disease primarily affects. The programs are led by certified licensed therapists in Horizon Health’s Rehabilitation Services Department.

“Both programs are customized to each participant's needs and goals,” said Morgan Kincaid, rehab services manager at Horizon Health. “They are supported by scientific research and can help patients regardless of their stage or severity of condition.”

“LSVT BIG” Program

This one-on-one physical therapy program focuses on improving body movements. This involves refining smaller movements, such as self-care, to larger movements like getting up from a sofa or maintaining balance while walking. The program’s guiding principle is “Think BIG!” as it reteaches patients how normal movement should feel.

Pat Nail, a program participant at Horizon Health, has mid- to late-stage Parkinson’s disease. She says the program has helped her to walk better and perform daily activities more easily.

“I couldn’t lift up my leg to get into the bathtub, and I can do that really good now,” she said. “I’m peeling potatoes, which I couldn’t do before.”

LSVT BIG involves 16 one-hour sessions spread over four weeks. In addition to the sessions, participants are directed to practice their exercises while at home.

Sheryle Hendry, physical therapist assistant at Horizon Health, is a certified BIG program instructor. Practicing the exercises at home is “what makes the difference” for a patient being successful in the program, she said.

“It’s a lifestyle change,” Sheryle explained. “You can’t just come to therapy and get fixed in a month or six weeks. It’s something you have to continue doing at home to make that positive change.”

Sarah Jo Bouton, doctor of physical therapy at Horizon Health, is also a certified BIG program instructor.

“LSVT LOUD” Program

This program is considered the “gold standard” of speech treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease. The one-on-one sessions improve communication by helping the patient speak with a voice and volume that is easy for others to hear and understand.

Exercises help strengthen the voice box (larynx), speech system, and “reset” the patient’s perception of how loud he or she is speaking. As a result, patients can experience better articulation, changes in swallowing, improved facial expressions while talking, and even speech-related brain changes.

Like LSVT BIG, LSVT LOUD involves 16 one-hour sessions spread over four weeks and home practice is essential for success. The program is led by Brenda Stevens, certified speech-language pathologist and LSVT LOUD certified therapist at Horizon Health.

About LVST Treatments

LVST LOUD and LVST BIG were founded by Dr. Lorraine Ramig, a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her work to develop an effective speech treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease began in the 1980s when she met Mrs. Lee Silverman. Dr. Ramig’s speech treatment protocol, called Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT LOUD), was later expanded to a physical and occupational therapy program called LSVT BIG.

For more information about both programs, call Horizon Health’s Rehabilitation Services Department at (217) 466-4244 or ask your primary care provider.