Most Viewed Stories
Yuma rehab center helps Parkinson's patients reach goals
Since the fall of 2007, Anna Rinholen and Rosanna Ruiz have been helping local patients with Parkinson's achieve personal goals that help them get back to everyday life.
Parkinson's, a brain disorder, occurs when the nerve cells die or become impaired, according to the National Parkinson Foundation Web site.
Symptoms such as tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness and difficulty with balance affect a person's ability to perform everyday tasks.
For Yuman Chester Coatney, the goal was walking his dog.
"Our goal is to function on each person's optimal function in life," Rinholen said. "They each are provided with a handout to write down what they want to do and what their optimum goal is.
"And we're just a tool. We want to help them reach those goals, so we give them a home exercise program that they're supposed to do every day ..."
With repetition and practice, a patient can improve the skills he or she is working on.
"The nice thing about this program is that patients come for four days a week for four weeks, but Parkinson's is a disease that never goes away, so we offer them to continue to keep coming back for therapy as much as they would like," Rinholen said.
And now Rinholen and Ruiz are trying to get the word out about LSVT, the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment. LSVT is a research-based treatment program designed to help patients with Parkinson’s disease improve their voice, speech and movement.
Rinholen said they meet patients through the Yuma Rehabilitation Hospital or a Yuma Parkinson's support group.
"We really want to get the word out so we can expand the program," said Rinholen, an occupational therapist at Yuma Rehab.
Rinholen said Medicare pays for the program as well as the major health care carriers. She said she hasn't run into a carrier that hasn't paid for the program.
So far, she said, they've had about 25 patients go through the program.
Coatney's been back twice to go through the program, and Yuman Martha Willoughby is on her third visit back.
"It's just like a review of what they're doing and what they need to get better," said Ruiz, a certified occupational therapist assistant at Yuma Rehab.
"Or work on new things," Willoughby said.
It's important, Rinholen said, because Parkinson's signs and symptoms are different in everyone.
With the program, patients are able to work on their individual needs.
Some of the exercises that patients practice are making big, sudden movements, talking loudly, and reaching and stretching.
For more information on enrolling in the program, call outpatient therapy and ask for Anna or Rosanna at 314-8812.
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857.