Therapy improves lives for patients with Parkinson’s

Released: 05/01/17

John Wiest of Spillville, IA, enjoys taking his wife Pat out to eat on Friday nights. When John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease last summer, date nights for John and Pat took a back seat. After the completion with WMC’s Rehabilitation LSVT program he not only gets to enjoy Friday night dates again with his wife, but is also able to play cards with friends and family, take walks and enjoy all that life has to offer.

John Wiest of Spillville, IA, enjoys taking his wife Pat out to eat on Friday nights. When John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (a neurological disorder) last summer, date nights for John and Pat took a back seat. John was unsure about how he’d feel eating in public and had trouble with daily life skills, like putting on his jacket without assistance. “Parkinson’s disease typically impacts a person’s movements, but the symptoms are different for each person. It’s progressive and can be challenging to manage some of these symptoms. However, with specialized therapy, such as Winneshiek Medical Center’s (WMC) Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) BIG program, patients can better control their movements by replacing smaller movements with big, high effort movements,” says Macey Kregel, occupational therapist assistant at Winneshiek Medical Center.

John’s neurologist recommended he begin rehab to help increase his limb and body movements. Pat, who is a member of the WMC Auxiliary and a volunteer, knew she wanted him to receive his care from WMC Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine, the largest rehab and sports medicine network in the area. Together, as a team, the two decided to commit to the LSVT program at WMC. “The program is intense and repetitive but successful; it’s four days a week for four weeks, one hour sessions. Our goal is to aim big,” says Sarah Groux, WMC’s director of rehab. “With LSVT, bigger movements allow patients to move more easily and thereby help to preserve their quality of their life.”

“The first day was very memorable to me,” says John. “It was hard work, but I am glad to say my dedication and commitment paid off.” Stacey Quam, WMC occupational therapist shared, “The exercises took John one hour to complete on the first day, and at the last session he completed those exercises all within 12 minutes.” John and his occupational therapists, Macey Kregel and Stacey Quam, aren’t the only ones who notice his progress. “His walking has changed so much already,” says his wife, Pat. “He used to always be the one walking behind me and now it’s hard for me to keep up with him!”

The LSVT program focuses on increasing the patient’s strength, flexibility and balance, but more importantly improve the quality of life with individuals who have Parkinson’s disease over the course of 4 weeks. Therapists, Kregel and Quam, also work on establishing a support system with their patients and families. After program completion a follow up phone call to the patient is made every six months to ensure patients are implementing this new lifestyle at home along with answering any questions.

“This program is a God-send,” states Pat. “However, these girls are really the experts to give credit to; they are so encouraging and have given John back his confidence.” With John’s great progress made through WMC’s LSVT program, he not only gets to enjoy Friday night dates again with his wife, but is also able to play cards with friends and family, take walks and enjoy all that life has to offer.

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