In on the Secret? 3 Under-Publicized Parkinson’s Disease Treatments

Pamela Atwood, MA, CDP, CLL Director, Dementia Care Services Hebrew Health Care, Inc.

I had the great opportunity to meet with our local Parkinson’s Disease (PD) support group yesterday. The group is affiliated with the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, and meets monthly (2nd Tuesdays at 3:30) in West Hartford. We are honored to host this terrific, supportive, knowledgeable group of patients and friends & family. Yesterday we welcomed the new APDA CT Chapter Executive Director, Mary Ellen Thibodeau.  She’s amazing, and she let us in on the newest treatments for PD.  Some of the members had never heard of them ~ and we’ll let you in on the secret too!

DBS – Deep Brain Stimulation – many PD patients have heard about this before. DBS is like a pacemaker for your brain. It is considered when medications are less effective, and helps patients have symptom free hours in their days. In our area, there are fewer centers which offer this treatment than there were 5 years ago. However, the eligibility has changed. If you were told in the past you were “too old” ask again! There is no longer an age requirement, but doctors do consider functional ability/potential, ability to utilize Sinemet, and medical feasibility.

LSVT Loud – This is a speech-therapy-based program that helps patients with their voice. PD patients lose the strength in their voices, and to them, they feel as if they are yelling when people ask them to speak up. This program is a Medicare/insurance covered intervention, which is intensive but with dramatic results. Therapy is given 1 hour a day, 4 days a week for 4 weeks.

LSVT Big – This is a physical-therapy-based program, also covered by Medicare and insurance, for functional movements. It also has dramatic results, but is a newer program, and not many PTs are certified yet.

Hebrew Health Care will continue to host the PD support group monthly. For more information or to be added to our invite list, email us at patwood@hebrewhealthcare.org today!

For more information on these interventions or other information & supports for Parkinson’s Disease, visit www.apda.org and contact your local chapter.

One thought on “In on the Secret? 3 Under-Publicized Parkinson’s Disease Treatments

  1. Our next group meets 5/13 and we will have a guest speaker – Michael Hahn from Medtronic to discuss DBS. All are welcome!

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