Program encourages Parkinson's patients to be 'big and loud'
COLUMBUS, N.C. (WLOS) —
COLUMBUS -- A four-week program at a North Carolina hospital is changing the lives of Parkinson's patients.
The "Big and Loud" program at St. Luke's Hospital in Columbus is preserving mobility, speech, and, ultimately, independence.
Mary Hay is one of the Parkinson's patients doing everything big during occupational therapy the hospital.
"What we're trying to do is get them to increase the amplitude of their movement and make their movements more deliberate," said Karol Young, an occupational therapist. "Ultimately, it helps retrain their brain, helps with balance and coordination."
These exaggerated movements are also shown to reduce stiffness, help patients better cope with tremors and maintain reaction times -- despite the nervous system disease.
"I'm training like an Olympic athlete would, or I regress," Hay said.
"Sometimes, people with Parkinson's actually freeze," Young said.
That's why remaining "loud" is just as important as "big."
"Loudness for Parkinson's patients is the biggest reason they lose their communication. Loudness also eventually affects the swallow, as well," said Shannon McCool, speech language pathologist.
The long-term goal is to have a group Parkinson's exercise class twice a month.