Parkinson's Disease Management

More than 1.5 million Americans suffer from Parkinson's Disease (PD), a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impacts an individual's motor skills, speech and cognitive function. Often characterized by the presence of tremors, PD will present a wide range of challenges: from rigidity or stiffness in the limbs to problems with posture and balance, fatigue, mood, swallowing and memory. However, each of the estimated 60,000 persons diagnosed with PD every year will experience different symptoms and will benefit from different treatment options as the disease progresses.

For that reason, a multi-disciplinary approach to care is most effective. At Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, our team of allied health professionals works closely with a patient's physician to best meet individual needs, optimize function and encourage independence.

Our Approach

As a complement to pharmacological and surgical interventions for Parkinson's patients, Kessler offers a comprehensive program of physical, occupational and speech therapies to enhance each individual's physical, intellectual and emotional well-being.

  • Physical Therapy for PD is designed to both elevate current physical performance and educate individuals about the importance of continuing exercise after the course of therapy is completed.

    Using a variety of performance and balance tests, a Kessler therapist will evaluate the patient at the start of the program, at mid-point and again at discharge to determine the appropriate course of treatment and to make any modifications as needs may change. Our specialized program incorporates "The Five R's of Exercise" utilizing varying aspects of rotation, rhythm, range of motion, reaction and rehearsed movements into each activity. Improvements are usually seen in gait, balance, posture and flexibility.

  • Occupational Therapy targets the individual's ability to perform daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, grooming or preparing a meal and other routine tasks. Kessler occupational therapists work closely with our PD patients, providing a range of therapies to help improve or maintain upper extremity range of motion, prevent contractures through stretching and splinting, strengthen fine motor coordination and improve apraxia. In addition, we introduce new and more accommodating ways for individuals to care for themselves and remain as independent as possible.
  • Speech Therapy, which focuses on the dynamics of speaking, addresses problems with volume, intonation and clarity that individuals with Parkinson's Disease often experience. Improvements may be seen in speech and voice quality, as well as facial expression. In addition, Kessler's speech therapists will work with patients to help improve impaired swallow function and saliva management.

Specialized Services

As part of Kessler's comprehensive approach to care, we offer many unique services, including, for example, our Driver Rehabilitation Program. This highly acclaimed program provides individuals with a detailed evaluation to help determine their ability to safely operate a vehicle. Using objective data, we help those whose driving skills become impaired to understand that they may no longer be safe on the road. For those who are able to continue to drive, the program can help hone the skills needed to remain on the road safely.

In addition, bracing and wheelchair services are available to our patients. This includes the evaluation, recommendations for and training on the use of such equipment. In addition, advanced assistive technologies, such as computer-controlled environmental aids, may also be introduced to offer help with activities of daily living.

For More Information

For more information about Kessler's Parkinson's Disease Management, contact or call Kessler's West Orange, Saddle Brook or Chester Campus.