LSVT BIG allowed my client to get to Hawaii for his 52nd anniversary trip!

Zach Vasey had been a PTA for 10 years when he got certified in LSVT BIG® in March of 2022. He and his PT colleague took the Online LSVT BIG Certification Course at the same time, then discovered that they were the only therapists providing LSVT BIG in a 40-mile radius of their clinic in Pennsylvania. Soon after completing their certification, they got their first patient and were excited to jump in and get started delivering LSVT BIG.

Their first patient was a 75-year-old man with Parkinson Disease named Ray who was struggling to walk due to the amount of freezing he was having. He was only able to ambulate approximately 5 feet at a time before starting to freeze and was using a cane out in front of him to stop himself from falling forward. The severity of the freezing had caused many falls. Ray had to stop attending his exercise classes at the local YMCA, he could no longer do his evening walks with his wife, he was forced to stop golfing. However, the biggest issue of all was that his 52nd wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii was on the verge of getting cancelled due to his trouble with mobility. 

Zach’s fellow certified PT completed the evaluation, introduced Zach (PTA) to Ray and Zach got started right away with treating him with LSVT BIG. Together they designed the functional portions of the sessions to include a strong focus on tasks related to the freezing triggers. They included activities with turning, standing up & starting to walk, backing up to sit down, maneuvering around obstacles in small spaces, picking items up off the floor, walking through doorways and over thresholds and more. They progressed to unstable surfaces both in the clinic and outside as the weeks progressed.

As they got close to the end of their 4 weeks of treatment, Zach and his colleague decided that Ray was making good progress. However, they also felt that he was not yet fully calibrated and would benefit from additional treatment. In the end, they completed 6 weeks total of LSVT BIG treatment to ensure that Ray met his goals and made it to Hawaii.

At the conclusion of therapy, Ray was able to walk 200-300 feet with only minimal instances of freezing and used strategies he learned to break out of the freeze to allow him to continue walking. He was no longer using his cane and had improved on his functional and balance tests and measures.

Zach reported that they videotaped him at the beginning, middle and at the end of treatment. “It was such a joy to review this video with him and his wife at the end of treatment, they couldn’t remember just how bad it had been,” said Zach.

Ray had met all his goals and they all agreed that a return to the golf course was safe and appropriate. He had returned to going back to the YMCA for exercise classes and he and his wife had returned to their evening walks together. But the most important thing of all, Ray and his wife are leaving soon to celebrate that anniversary together on their 3-week trip to Hawaii!

“I have seen his wife multiple times since his discharge from therapy and she states that he continues to improve, and no falls have occurred” says Zach.

Zach mentions that they have not had much time to start marketing their new LSVT BIG program, but they really haven’t needed to as his patient’s wife has been their biggest referral source! She has sent several other people to them and is keeping Zach and his colleague busy all on her own.

Zach Vasey is a PTA who works for NovaCare in Butler, PA.

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