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Back to Blog Main Page New Clinic Will Treat Patients with Parkinson’s
By: Jean Carl

Inside MossRehab

Jul 13 2021



MossRehab is opening a clinic for rehabilitation treatment of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Part of the Klein Family Parkinson’s Rehabilitation Center, the multidisciplinary clinic brings together members from many different clinical disciplines and researchers to help patients with Parkinson’s to better understand rehabilitation management options, improve quality of life and, possibly, slow down the progression of the disease complications.

The team behind the clinic

Aaron Wong, PhD, Scientific Director of the Klein Parkinson's Rehabilitation Center and Director of the Cognitive-Motor Learning Laboratory, along with Tariq Z. Rajnarine, MD, Clinical Director of the Klein Parkinson's Rehabilitation Center and Attending Physician at MossRehab Elkins Park, are leading the effort

“Conditions like Parkinson’s have deficits that carry over from one area to another such as speech, mobility, and balance,” notes Dr. Rajnarine. “Assessments conducted by a team of clinicians can provide a bigger picture of an individual’s condition to determine therapy approaches with common goals for better outcomes.”

Each clinician that works with patients with Parkinson’s has a specific focus for rehabilitation. A physical therapist can concentrate on mobility, while an occupational therapist works on activities of daily living, and a speech-language pathologist addresses impaired communication and cognition changes. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to care, clinicians can work together and at the same time to evaluate a patient and determine common goals for therapies. So, while an occupational therapist focuses on how a patient can have a safe shower, a physical therapist can help them get into and out of the shower.  

Who will serve the clinic

MossRehab therapists certified in the LSVT-BIG and LSVT-LOUD programs, an intensive therapy approach to improve voice and speech in people with Parkinson’s disease and other clinician, will refer patients who they feel may benefit from a multidisciplinary care approach. 

During an initial evaluation at the clinic, patients meet with a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist at one location at the same time. After each clinician conducts an assessment, they meet as a team alongside a PM&R physician, social worker, neuropsychologist, if needed, and representatives of the research team. Together, with the patient, they discuss findings and align goals and treatment plans as well as be invited to participate in research opportunities. 

“In a traditional rehab approach, patients might not meet with an occupational or speech therapist if they were never referred to these clinicians,” notes Dr. Wong. “An assessment by a team of clinicians would provide a broader picture of the severity of patient symptoms and support an integrated approach to rehabilitation moving forward. The inclusion of researchers in this process is unusual, but we believe their input will be mutually beneficial for patients, clinicians, and future research efforts.”

Patients would receive joint feedback from the clinical team to improve and simplify communications. “Getting feedback from each therapist at separate times is often overwhelming for a patient,” Dr. Rajnarine remarks. “One multidisciplinary team can relay joint decisions and work together on common, achievable goals.” 

At the same time, the patient can provide input on what would improve their quality of life. “Understanding a patient’s goals is a big part of making a difference in their life,” says Dr. Rajnarine. “For example, working together towards a patient’s goal of improving personal hygiene, therapists could help them safely use the bathroom, which can open their lives socially.”

After the initial assessment, the person with Parkinson’s receives physical, speech, or occupational therapy according to the recommended goals. At the end of the rehabilitation, the same team that conducted the evaluations would meet with the patient for a wrap-up appointment.

Initially the clinic will begin at MossRehab Elkins Park to test the approach. In the future, the clinic will expand to the community and take outside referrals.

“We also hope to identify patients who could benefit from joining the Parkinson’s Oss Rehabilitation Research Institute Registry to participate in future studies on Parkinson’s,” notes Dr. Rajnarine. The registry is a program for patient recruitment to volunteer in studies focused on Parkinson’s and other neurologic conditions. An ongoing initiative of the Center is expanding the registry to include Parkinson’s patients. Notes Dr. Wong, “we are working to create a link between research and clinical practice that will shape the future of rehabilitation.”

Find out more about The Klein Family Parkinson’s Rehabilitation Center.

Inside MossRehab

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