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St. Joseph’s/Candler program designed to help patients with movement disorders

Aug 29, 2019

The Movement Disorders Program offers comprehensive care for Parkinson’s, Essential Tremor and other movement disorder patients

More than 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year. That’s just one condition that is classified as a movement disorder, and it’s not even the most common movement disorder.

To ensure patients with movement disorders receive the highest quality of care, St. Joseph’s/Candler offers the Movement Disorders Program (MDP), a program dedicated to comprehensive evaluation and treatment of movement disorders.

A movement disorder is defined as a group of neurological conditions causing involuntary or abnormal movement. Examples of movement disorders can include Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, Tourette’s Syndrome, Essential Tremor, Huntington’s disease and other related neurological disorders.

Related Article: Six common movement disorders

The St. Joseph’s/Candler MDP is a designated National Parkinson’s Foundation Care Center, and the only program of its kind in the region.

“With a movement disorder, timing is so important. We direct the right patients to the right treatment at the right time,” says Fran McCarey, RN, BSN, former outreach coordinator for the MDP.

The goal of the MDP is to provide compassionate, comprehensive, quality care for patients with movement disorders. The program improves access to information, services and treatment, as well as serves as advocates for patients with movement disorders.

Among the services offered through the MDP are:

  • Multidisciplinary team approach to determine the best customized treatment plan for a patient’s individual needs.
  • Designated patient navigators to help guide patients in the continuum of care from diagnosis to treatment to recovery.
  • Specialized diagnostic/therapeutic and surgical procedures coordinated by a highly-skilled neurosurgeon and board-certified neurologist.
  • Patient evaluation and follow up assessment with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Physician Network – Neurology practice.
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy offered in both an inpatient and outpatient setting.
  • Education and community outreach, including connecting patients with support groups.

“The support groups allow our patients an outlet to share what they’re going through,” McCarey says. “They give patients a sense of support, and they provide the opportunity to see how others are not only coping, but how they are managing their movement disorders.”

Alternate treatments for movement disorders may include musical, art and pet therapies. The St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center also offers weekly classes that patients with movement disorders can benefit from including yoga and tai chi, as well as massage therapy. The Wellness Center also offers an eight-week program called Wellness in Movement designed to improve balance, strength, posture and gait.

“Individuals respond differently to various forms of therapy and treatment, and it is important to find a therapy that works best for each patient,” McCarey says.

The MDP team

As mentioned, the MDP takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating patients with movement disorders. The team includes:

  • St. Joseph’s/Candler Neurologist Dr. Jill Trumble, board certified neurologist and fellowship trained movement disorders specialist, medical director of the program
  • Neurosurgeon Dr. Randall Bishop, who specializes in Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Kathryn Wiesmann, outreach coordinator
  • Maggie Gignilliat, LCSW, CCM, outpatient social worker
  • Board certified balance physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists
  • Other social workers, registered nurses and exercise physiologists

“I spend a lot of my time with patients answering questions and directing them to resources best suited for their specific movement disorder,” McCarey says. “We all work together on behalf of our patients, advocating for the best treatment and resources possible for them.”

Related Article: How Deep Brain Stimulation is improving the quality of life for Parkinson’s, tremor patients 

For more information on the Movement Disorders Program, contact current outreach coordinator Kathryn Wiesmann at 912-819-2224 or by filling out our form. For more information, visit our website.


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