MEMPHIS, Mo. (WGEM) -- Scotland County Hospital Therapy Services now offers a program that administrators said allows patients to can get the same treatment they would normally get elsewhere, so people with Parkinson's Disease in rural Northeast Missouri don't have to drive as far for therapy.
73-year-old Thomas Laughlin was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 15 years ago. He said it made doing his job as a doctor in the ER nearly impossible.
"I noticed my right hand was trembling a little bit. I was doing a procedure and I had to quiet doing the procedure," Laughlin said.
After several treatments and tests, he said doctors got to the root of the issue and now, he goes to therapy at Scotland County Hospital Therapy Services.
"I'm functioning better now than I was four-five years ago."Thomas Laughlin | Scotland County Hospital Therapy Services Patient
Physical Therapist Carrie Hamner said they're now offering the LSVT Big and Loud Program to help patients better communicate physically and verbally.
"It's a very intensive program, it is four days a week. So you're expected to attend four days a week and then you have homework you do every day."Carrie Hamner | Scotland County Hospital Physical Therapist
Speech Therapist Trinity Davis said offering the program here, brings the therapy Parkinson's Disease patients need, closer to home.
"Being able to drive a few miles down the road or even 20 or 30 miles is a huge improvement to having to drive 90 miles. In which case someone would likely say that's just not possible for me."Trinity Davis | Scotland County Hospital Speech Therapist
Davis said some patients may not be able to physically drive alone and have to rely on caregivers.
Laughlin said he would have to travel two to three hours to Columbia or St. Louis to get this type of therapy.
"So in the broad scheme of things a 45 to 50 minute drive up here is well worth it," Laughlin said.
Patient Ken Berry said having therapy closer to home in a rural areas like Memphis, Missouri, cuts his travel time in half and makes living with his disease easier.
"One time Kirksville had a therapy department. The one I was going to closed a couple years ago. So other than that, I would probably have to go to Quincy. That would be the closest."Ken Berry | Scotland County Hospital Therapy Services Patient
Berry just finished the program, which he credits with giving him confidence with speaking and walking.
Hamner said the program is covered by Medicare and most mainstream insurances and said your primary care physician or neurologist can refer you to their program to get signed up.