Hannah Steigerwalt
Therapy Manager
Southern Hills Skilled Nursing & Rehab

Delay the Disease Classes

Wednesday’s were not just any normal day here at Southern Hills Nursing and Rehab Center, Wednesday was our Delay the Disease day. When I first started here 4 months ago, class attendance was low, with only 1-2 participants coming on good days. Many of those weeks no one showed up at all.

Delay the DIseaseAll that changed with one little article in Cleveland.com and with the local newspaper here in Middleburg Heights.  With that one article, our attendance went from 1-2 on good days to 22 patients with Parkinson’s plus their caregivers coming on the first day after the article ran. There were so many that we barely fit in the room. It was such an overwhelming, but yet great experience.

Many of the patients and family members were so excited to hear of such an amazing opportunity for themselves and their loved ones so close.  Along with voice strengthening, cognitive exercises, and mobility activities that focus on strength and balance, we educate on importance of carryover at home. Not only do the caregivers come to help learn how or why their loved one may “freeze” or have trouble speaking and moving like everyone else, they get time to visit with other family members in their same situation. They also get a huge educational experience every time they walk through our doors as well. Patients and caregivers talk to the therapists about their frustration and trials they have at home and ask questions to see if that’s normal or ask for advice from another caregiver.

So now, three days a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) from 12:30-1:30, are not just normal days here at Southern. They are our Delay the Disease days. On an average day we have 8-10 patients with Parkinson’s plus their caregivers coming in week after week to help maintain and learn what they can do to make things better for them. It is amazing to see the relationships that the patients and the caregivers are forming not only with therapists performing the class, but among themselves. We have heard comments throughout about how amazing this program is and how much it has helped them look at things from a different perspective and know that they are not alone.