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LSVT BIG. Residents and physical therapists do LSVT BIG exercises

Live Comfortably - September 29, 2023

Empowering People with Parkinson’s Disease with LSVT BIG

By Amanda Ranowsky

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 90,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the United States every year. A 2022 study showed that age is the primary risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, and the incidence estimates of Parkinson’s increases in people over the age of 65.

With such statistics in mind, we ensure we do all we can to keep on top of the latest research and treatments for Parkinson’s disease in order to best serve the older adults we support, honor and uplift every day through our various Goodwin Living services. One way we support those living with Parkinson’s disease is by offering a program through Goodwin Rehabilitation called LSVT BIG.

What is LSVT BIG?

LSVT BIG is a program that certified physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants use to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease or other neurological conditions that present similar symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease makes it difficult for people to control movement in their bodies, making everyday activities such as walking, talking and swallowing challenging. The LSVT BIG program trains people to improve movements related to everyday physical activities: walking, sitting and standing, self care (getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc.) and more. The program developed out of LSVT LOUD, a form of speech therapy also geared toward those with Parkinson’s disease.

Goodwin Rehabilitation operates on-site therapy centers at each of our three senior living campuses, and physical and occupational therapists at each location are certified to offer LSVT BIG to their clients. Certified speech therapists also offer LSVT LOUD.

To learn more about LSVT BIG, I spoke with some of the LSVT-certified therapists at Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads.

How Long Has Goodwin Living Offered LSVT BIG?

Peach Querubin, GHBC Director of Goodwin Rehabilitation: We’ve offered LSVT BIG since Goodwin Rehabilitation formed in 2020. At GHBC, we started with just one physical therapist who was certified to offer LSVT BIG, and now more and more of our therapists are getting their certification.

How Do Physical Therapists Become Certified in LSVT BIG?

Chelsea Moseley, Physical Therapist: You can take a course either online or in person. The course is 16 hours, then afterwards you have to take a standardized test and pass the test to be certified.

What are the Qualifications for a Patient to Receive the LSVT BIG Therapy?

Anjali Koschmider, Physical Therapist: Having Parkinson’s disease is the main qualifier, but someone with other neurological impairments or an underlying neurological condition could also benefit from this therapy. If they have a cognitive impairment, they need to have a caregiver who can help them through the program to get the most out of it.

Chelsea Moseley, Physical Therapist: The main qualification is to have a Parkinson’s diagnosis because that is what they have tested this program on and that is what this program was designed to treat.

Lexus Isom, Physical Therapist: I also offer a class twice a week that is open to all residents (whether or not they have a Parkinson’s diagnosis) called BIG for Life. This class is based on the exercises used in LSVT BIG. Residents who take my class say that they feel like they are able to move a little better after participating. Their balance is improved, and they feel stronger.

How Does the LSVT BIG Program Work?

Anjali Koschmider, Physical Therapist: A typical session involves spending 20-30 minutes with the patient working on the LSVT exercises. Halfway through the program, we have an evaluation where we look at what their functional goals are, and we’ll spend the second half working on improving those functions.

Brittany Rorrer, Physical Therapist: It’s a pretty extensive bout of therapy: we have sessions with the patient for four days a week over four weeks. If people are interested in doing LSVT BIG, they need to be able to dedicate the time to do the four weeks of therapy and to do daily exercises on an ongoing basis.

Shayna Friedman, Occupational Therapist: Once you’ve been through the training, you need to do the exercises twice a day every day of the week indefinitely to keep up your progress. It’s the people who are committed who usually see the best results.

How Do Patients Benefit from LSVT BIG?

Anjali Koschmider, Physical Therapist:  A lot of people can benefit in general from the exercises for balance and strength and posture. The goal is to make big movement a part of their everyday life. Every way that they move and function, like getting out of a chair, walking or any tasks they’re doing such as buttoning a shirt is all about emphasizing that large movement since they lose that ability with Parkinson’s disease.

Brittany Rorrer, Physical Therapist: It can help with dressing too, getting in and out of showers or reaching up to high shelves. Those are some other issues can be improved by doing LSVT BIG.

Eunsol Lee, Physical Therapist: I’ve seen patients change their view about a diagnosis and become more confident in their daily lives.

Many studies support these claims, showing that LSVT BIG helps people with Parkinson’s disease to improve mobility and maintain many of their improvements long-term. With this program, Goodwin Rehabilitation offers its clients with Parkinson’s disease a tool to help them improve and maintain their quality of life for years to come.

Curious to see LSVT BIG in action? Take a look at this video, where we share some clips of real LSVT BIG sessions at Goodwin Rehabilitation.

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As Marketing & Communications Specialist, Amanda Ranowsky partners with colleagues throughout Goodwin Living to tell our stories and raise brand awareness. From printed collateral to digital marketing, Amanda covers many bases. Before joining Goodwin Living, Amanda worked for a small, family-owned business where she gained experience in content marketing. Amanda’s creative expression extends beyond the office. She is an active member of community theater and chorus groups.

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