Because achieving an accurate diagnosis is essential to finding the right treatment for movement disorder patients, patient care begins with an in-depth evaluation by one of the program’s neurologists who specializes in movement disorders. In addition to a detailed neurological evaluation, patients are also assessed for mental function, psychiatric health, gait and balance, mobility and body function, and overall health and well-being. If a caregiver or family member is present, they are involved in the evaluation process as well.
Once the patient is evaluated, the team develops an individualized treatment plan, which could include:
- Medications to help control symptoms and slow disease progression, if possible;
- Physical and occupational therapy to help increase mobility and improve the quality of daily activities;
- Speech and swallowing therapy to increase communications and prevent complications from swallowing difficulties;
- Aquatic therapy to provide therapy for those who have difficulty standing or walking;
- Psychological and social services to address cognitive, emotional and behavioral changes;
- Genetics counseling and testing for inherited diseases;
- Botulinum toxin injections (Botox® or Myobloc®) for dystonia;
- Surgical evaluation for deep brain stimulation in Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor or dystonia;
- Referral to other local experts as needed, including cardiologists, sleep specialists and neuro-ophthalmologists; and
- Clinical trial opportunities, which offer state-of-the-art management options for many movement disorders.
Some patients are admitted to Frazier Rehab Institute to help jump-start their treatment, while others receive treatment on an outpatient basis. The team closely monitors the patient’s care and meets regularly to continue to tailor the treatment plan to the patient’s needs.