Cara Frame and Melanie Cannon, Heritage Ministries Speech/Language Pathologists, recently completed an intensive training program to become certified in LSVT (Lee Silverman Voice Treatment). They are now only two of three pathologists in the Chautauqua County region that are certified in this state-of-the-art treatment option for Parkinson’s Disease patients.
The inability of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) to communicate properly can affect their social, economic, and psychological well-being. Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from PD. The root cause of voice and speech deficiencies in PD patients is not fully understood and traditional treatment programs have not yielded much success in the long-term care setting. This is where the Lee Silverman voice treatment (LSVT) has an advantage for PD patients. LSVT is one of the most widely practiced treatments for speech disorders associated with Parkinson’s disease. It focuses on increasing vocal loudness and has an intensive approach. Speech therapy and specifically LSVT may improve voice and speech function in individuals who have Parkinson’s disease (PD).
What is LSVT Therapy?
The Lee Silverman family, inspired by Mrs. Lee Silverman who had voice and speech issues after being afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, established the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment Foundation for funding research on new voice and speech treatment techniques. The family’s greatest wish was to hear and understand Mrs. Silverman again. Today, the foundation promotes the program to clinicians and clients and has certified more than 1,500 LVST speech pathologists throughout the United States, including Cara Frame and Melanie Cannon of Heritage Ministries.
In 1987, the LSVT program was developed after extensive research. A selected group of 33 PD patients were randomly assigned either the traditional respiratory effort therapy (RET) or the LSVT therapy. With the LSVT program, patients had better results immediately after treatment and improvements long term.
Cara and Melanie have been Speech/Language Pathologists for Heritage Ministries since 2008. Both women believe so strongly in the LSVT certification, they each funded their own path through the training and certification. Cara states, “The scope of practice is ever expanding in the field of Speech Pathology. It is important to me to continue to grow as a clinician specifically to provide the most up-to-date treatment modalities to a community in which I grew up as I strive to give back. Let’s get LOUD!” Melanie adds, “Being able to provide LSVT therapy to people affected by Parkinson’s Disease is very rewarding. LSVT therapy improves their quality of life and increases their confidence when speaking to friends and family. We are excited to be able to provide this service and are ready to make more voices heard in our community!”
Mark Constantino, Director of Rehabilitation states, “LSVT is on the cutting edge of voice treatment therapy. I’m very proud of Cara & Melanie for taking the initiative to advance their skills as speech-language pathologists. Their new skills are immediately available, via outpatient SLP services at Heritage Green, for individuals in our community whom are challenged by the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Our entire rehab department is committed to offering the most current evidenced-based therapy interventions. This is another example of our rehab department’s continuous effort to offer hope, dignity, and purposeful living to those we serve.”
If you are interested in learning more about LSVT therapy or the rehabilitation services that Heritage offers, please call our Speech Therapy Department at 716.338.0135 or visit us online at www.heritage1886.org.