3.2 min readPublished On: May 10, 2024

Villager Living with Parkinson’s Sees Results from Inpatient Program at PAM Health Rehab Hospital

“There are some things I learned at PAM that help me today,” Linda Larsen says. “And I got realistic expectations mapped out for me. They showed me the right way to do certain things so I can improve.”

For anyone living with Parkinson’s, like Linda, improvement is a relative concept. “Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders in the world,” according to the PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital website. “What often starts as hand tremors can progress until patients experience a huge functional loss that impacts their independence.

Linda went through an intense therapy program at PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Tavares and came away with improved protocols for daily living. “They taught her a lot of little things that make our life easier now,” her husband Scott says.

Living with Parkinson’s since 2011, Linda reached a point last year where she could barely walk. “She has been steadily declining over the last 12 to 18 months. I just assumed this was the natural progression of her Parkinson’s,” Scott explains.

The progression of Parkinson’s is different for everyone. There is no way to predict how quickly the disease will progress or what areas will be affected. It is not uncommon for people living with Parkinson’s to experience slow movement, muscle stiffness, impaired balance and speech changes. Any muscles can be affected, even those that perform vital functions.

Intense Therapy Refresher

“Our Parkinson’s Disease Rehabilitation Program aims to lengthen the time patients can remain active and able to live at home,” PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital claims. “In the process, we also seek to enhance their quality of life.”

Linda arrived at PAM Rehab in Tavares not knowing what to expect. Her program began with a thorough evaluation led by a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician to oversee development and implementation of an individualized treatment plan. The Parkinson’s Rehab Program takes the team approach, involving physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, nutritionists, and other rehabilitation experts as needed.

The second day of Linda’s visit, therapy started at 9am. Linda was taken to the exercise room for physical therapy, and back to her room for lunch.

“Most days she was so tired from PT that we had to wake her up after lunch to go to OT,” Scott explains. Scott arrived early each morning to greet Linda before the busy day of therapy began. He was there throughout the day to assist her when he could. At night, a private duty nurse stayed with Linda so Scott could go home and sleep.

Linda, like many people living with Parkinson’s, gets physical therapy regularly when she is home. The intense program at PAM put her through some new exercises and kept her moving all morning. Movement is one of the only ways to possibly slow down the progression of Parkinson’s. There is no cure for the disease.

At PAM, Linda got a full morning of physical therapy, and the afternoons were dedicated to occupational therapy. That’s when the therapy team reviewed Linda’s showering and dressing techniques and made some changes. They taught her how to work within her limitations to be as independent as possible.

“PAM did a great job getting Linda motivated to do her exercises. I could see improvements when she came home,” Scott said. “We are fortunate to have a program like this so close that I could be with Linda every day and come home at night.”

PAM Health accepts patient referrals from family physicians, specialists, case managers, social workers, home health agencies and skilled nursing facilities, and many of their programs are covered by Medicare. To learn more about the Parkinson’s Rehabilitation Program at PAM Health Rehabilitation Hospital in Tavares, click here.





About the Author: Christine Andola

Christine Andola
With a bachelor’s degree in communication from the State University of New York, College at New Paltz, in 1990 Christine embarked on a blind journey to building a career. She moved through teaching in the inner city public schools, reporting for a weekly newspaper, writing user manuals and technical documentation at a software company, lobbying and public relations at the state level for national associations and marketing for professional services firms. Christine’s writing portfolio includes everything from newspapers to grant proposals. She has developed web content, written blogs, ghost-written professional journal articles and drafted ad copy. From technical writing to lifestyle feature pieces, Christine lives by the value of words. She enjoys learning about the people around her and sharing information in a way that resonates with readers.

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