New Parkinson’s Therapy At HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital Highland

St. Joseph’s Occupational Therapist Kayla Toennies, MOT, OTR/L

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital (Highland) recently announced they are now offering an advanced occupational therapy treatment for people with Parkinson’s disease. The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) Big® program provides patients with daily activities to help them implement lifelong habits to improve their quality of life.

St. Joseph’s Occupational Therapist Kayla Toennies, MOT, OTR/L, recently received certification in the LSVT Big program, a research-based, standardized approach in exercise to improve motor function for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

Following treatment, research shows improved ratings on tests of motor functioning in people with Parkinson’s disease using the LSVT BIG, as well these benefits:

Faster walking with bigger steps

Improved balance

Increased trunk rotation

Improvements in activities of daily living, such as bed mobility

Improved motor function

The program has been developed and scientifically researched with funding from the National Institutes of Health. Research suggests that people should not wait until they experience disability, impairment of function or loss of balance to start this program.

Tina Frank, PT, MBA, Director of Rehab at St. Joseph’s Hospital, shared what Toennies’ recent LSVT certification means to the area. “We are pleased that because of Kayla’s commitment to advancing her professional development and advancing the clinical services offered at St. Joseph’s Rehab department, we are now able to offer this advanced therapy option to the residents of Highland and the surrounding communities,” she said. “This therapy will greatly assist enhancing the quality of life for those who struggle with Parkinson’s disease.”

The LSVT BIG program consists of 16 sessions — four days a week for four weeks. Treatment sessions run for one hour and include assigned home program practice for carryover of skills. The program focuses on high amplitude and repetitive motions performed with maximal effort, which helps produce bigger and more functional movements for everyday activities. This intensive therapy is most appropriate for those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease who have time to devote to therapy. For the best outcome, a patient must be able to participate four consecutive days per week for four weeks.

People interested in participating in the LSVT BIG program must obtain a physician order with the stated diagnosis, “Occupational therapy for LSVT BIG program.” Schedule an evaluation appointment with Kayla Toennies, MOT, OTR/L, LSVT-certified therapist, at 618-651-2720 or fax 618-651-2722. You can also learn more about the LSVT BIG program at:

For more information about HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital – Highland and the services offered by the Rehab Services department, visit St. Joseph’s web site at

HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital – Highland is part of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which also includes HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Belleville, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese, and HSHS Holy Family Hospital in Greenville.