Post Written by Karen Blindauer, MD
Twice every month our Parkinson’s team holds a meeting during lunch to discuss topics to improve our overall group performance. All three of us movement disorder neurologists attend, along with our nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, our registered dietician, social worker, program manager and program coordinator and one or two of the administrators heading up the neurology department. We report to each other on research updates and what we've read in the medical journals, learned at seminars, seen in clinic and done in our community outreach work. We discuss and review our program’s strengths and weaknesses and brainstorm to find ways to further improve an already outstanding interdisciplinary program that serves our Parkinson's disease patient population.
In addition to performance improvement, we have met to work on grant applications for research and program funding. We have met to collaborate on support group and symposium presentations. We even meet to discuss topics for this blog and who wants to write about what. All of this is an amazingly collegial process. I am truly lucky to be able to work with such a great team of people.
We are increasing our collaboration with the basic scientists in other departments at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the area of translational research. This type of work is focused on bringing new treatments from the early laboratory studies to research in people.
We have a weekly case conference where we discuss potential candidates for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). We view videos of on-off testing for each candidate. We review the neuropsychological test results and reports. With this data, our team decides as a group on whether or not DBS is the right choice for a given individual. We also review tough cases of the week and brainstorm together on diagnosis and treatment possibilities. If I were a patient in this program, I would be comforted by the fact that so many people are giving so much thought and consideration to my care.
I am always looking for innovative ways to improve function and quality of life in my patients. This topic often turns out to be surprisingly fun. This was never more evident than a recent Educational Enrichment luncheon during which we all got up on our feet and got moving. Dee Schwaiger, Tom Thoreson and Susanne Carter, community exercise and dance professionals, joined our team for the day and enlightened us about the role of dance for people with Parkinson’s (PWP). They have been collaborating in the development of a dance class for people with Parkinson's. Recent research indicates that dance may be a good modality for improving flexibility, balance and mood for PWP.
Dee, Tom and Susanne wanted us to see/hear/feel/experience what their class would be like for our patients. Amazingly we all got up and danced. For almost an hour we kept moving, and actually felt invigorated. I didn't realize I was pushing myself because I was having too much fun. I was able to see/hear/feel/experience the fact that this dance class can be excellent for PWP. I learned from Tom, Dee and Susanne that every move can be adapted to meet the individual’s needs and ability.
The Parkinson's Dance Project will kick off with two separate six-week classes with additional locations to be added in June.
- Thursday, April 16, 2:00 pm at the Wisconsin Athletic Club, Wauwatosa
- Friday, April 17, 2:00 pm at the Jewish Community Center, Whitefish Bay
The cost is $55 for six weeks. The class meets once per week, for 1 hour 15 minutes per session.Anyone who is interested should call Dee or Tom or Susanne at 262-241-3822 to register
. Check with your doctor if you have any exercise restrictions that would prevent you from participating.