To further the research and educational goals of the Movement Disorder Program and provide state-of the art care for patients enrolled in the Research Program and their caregivers by providing:
- Accurate diagnosis
- State of the art therapeutic care
- Education, counseling and support
Diagnosis can be difficult for non-movement disorder specialists; Our highly trained staff has a combination of experience and research that provides the skills necessary to aid in appropriate differentiation from among these diseases.
Care for patients is a top priority for The University of Louisville, Movement Disorder Program. In order to provide the best care to help alleviate symptoms, we begin with a comprehensive evaluation. In addition to the routine medical evaluation (i.e. physical and histories), we also evaluate mental function, psychiatric health, gait and balance, motility and body function, and overall health satisfaction. Although the time needed to perform these evaluations can be lengthy (~ 2 hours), we feel that this is the only way to get a true understanding of the patient's status and determine the appropriate course of treatment for them. Normally, it is the caregiver or a family member that brings the patients in; we also involve them in the evaluation process, as often they provide invaluable information as to the patient's status.
Once the initial evaluations are over with and a course of action has been discussed with the patient and their caregiver/family member, the patient's various therapeutic needs are addressed as needed; this may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and swallowing therapy. We also provide social services assistance as needed.
After the patient begins their planned course of care, we continually monitor each of the areas of their well-being through meetings with each of the therapeutic areas' specialists, and update the patient's course as needed. All of these things are discussed with the patient and their caregiver/family regularly, and input is greatly encouraged at all times. In fact, patients, family members, and caregivers regularly call us just to update us and ask questions as they think of them (that's what we want!).
Education, Counseling & Support
Patient referrals are done as needed; our overall goal is to make the patient as comfortable with their disorder as possible, while waiting for cures. This means not only the physical care of the patient, but also helping to alleviate some of the stressful "non-physical " aspects of dealing with these disorders. We also realize that not only patients are affected by the disorders, but there can be an enormous amount of stress and even depression among the patient's caregivers and family members as well.
To help alleviate some of these problems, we take specific actions:
- We provide both written and verbal information about the disease, its progress, and how to handle certain aspects of it; this helps alleviate some of their feelings of loss of control. There are several very good websites dedicated to specific disorders, we help patients and caregivers know about them and how to contact them.
- We provide information about local, state, national, and international support groups that are available and are specific to the disease in question, to help alleviate the feeling of being alone in dealing with the disorder.
- We continually offer our help over the phone; sometimes reassurance is all that a patient or caregiver needs, while other times they may have specific questions that need answering or general information about what to expect.