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Christian Health’s Short-term Rehab Program Announces New Treatment Modality for People with Parkinson’s Disease

Christian Health’s Short-term Rehab Program Announces New Treatment Modality for People with Parkinson’s Disease

Bolger Rehab Gym & Wellness Center at Christian Health

Christian Health (CHCC) is proud to announce the addition of LSVT BIG, research-based physical and occupational therapy addressing symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, to its roster of outpatient rehab therapies. The four-week program helps train improved movements and motor skills for those with Parkinson’s disease, who often move with gestures and actions that become smaller and slower as the disease progresses.

“LSVT BIG is intensive one-on-one treatment which trains individuals to use their body more normally,” says Erica Lotz, DPT. “It focuses on walking, balance, and activities of daily living. By learning how and when to use extra effort to produce bigger motions, their movements become more like those of everyone else around them.”

Parkinson’s disease is a brain-based movement disorder that affects the ability to perform common, daily activities. The disease is chronic and progressive, with symptoms such as tremors, muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, low speech volume, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, fatigue, numbness, burning, and pain, worsening over time.

erica and kate

Erica Lotz, DPT, left, and Kate Abbis, PTA, practice LSVT BIG exercises.

LSVT BIG was named for Lee Silverman, a woman living with Parkinson’s disease. More than 25 years ago, Loraine Ramig, PhD, CCC-SLP, began research after meeting Mrs. Silverman and her family, who wanted to hear and understand her better. The result was LSVT LOUD (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment) to increase speech volume and amplitude. It later expanded to LSVT BIG.

“LSVT BIG is phenomenal. Erica is enthusiastic and encouraging. I could tell a difference shortly after I started the program. I have greater mobility, and my sense of well-being has improved,” says outpatient Doris Minck, who was diagnosed with moderate Parkinson’s disease in 2012. “I’m very happy with CHCC overall. There’s a caring spirit. And being picked up and dropped off by a CHCC van is a tremendous help. The drivers are so courteous.”

The program takes place in CHCC’s 14,000-square-foot Bolger Rehab Gym & Wellness Center, and is comprised of four one-hour sessions per week. Prior to commencing the program, LSVT BIG candidates are evaluated, and their goals are discussed in order to customize their specific treatment plan. Although LSVT BIG can help at any stage or severity of Parkinson’s, studies have shown that it is most effective for individuals in the early to middles stages. Ms. Lotz, as well as Physical Therapy Assistant Kate Abbis, are CHCC’s LSVT BIG Certified Clinicians.

Rehab center

Bolger Rehab Gym & Wellness Center at Christian Health

“The treatment plan comes directly from the patient: What are you having trouble doing? What do you want to make sure that you don’t have trouble doing? From that, we pick five simple daily movements and create a hierarchy – one-step movements that combine to make a whole activity,” Ms. Lotz says. “One person’s hierarchy might be the ability to make breakfast. Someone else’s may be to walk down the front steps to the car.”

Daily practice at home is a key component to LSVT BIG success, both during the program and following discharge. A follow-up appointment is scheduled three to six months post-discharge, and, if warranted, “tune-up” sessions may be scheduled. The individualized nature of LSVT BIG treatment plans helps ensure that each person going through the program achieves success.

“LSVT BIG has tremendous benefits, not only for an individual’s physical well-being, but for mental well-being, as well,” says Ms. Lotz. “It can help a person be more confident and more empowered to re-engage in life.”

For more information about LSVT BIG and other short-term rehab services, contact Karen Hockstein at (201) 848-4463 or, or visit