Assessing Parkinson’s Patients with VSTBalance

Community Healthcare System’s Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders program takes a multidisciplinary approach to help patients regain their quality of life. “We have a unique care model to keep people functional and independent — getting ahead before there are mobility issues or risk of falls,” Amy Castillo, Director of Therapy Services, says. One of the ways they are doing this is by utilizing VSTBalance, a predictive fall-risk assessment platform that uses artificial intelligence and machine vision to assess an older adult’s risk of falling over a 12-month period based on deficits in their balance, gait, and function. 
 
“Originally we brought VSTBalance in for physical therapy for our older patients,” she says. But when Dr. Andrea DeLeo, a neurologist at CHC saw how VSTBalance worked, she wanted to use it with her Parkinson’s patients as a way to track their progress and ensure they are receiving the right medications for their symptoms. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement, causing tremors and difficulty with balance and coordination.
 
“VSTBalance uses infrared measurements in real time that provide a standard that can’t be duplicated from just a visual assessment,” Dr. DeLeo explains.
 
“It’s a great tool to manage the population in a more efficient manner and make sure patients aren’t slipping through the cracks and are following up with recommended therapies,” Physical Therapist Samantha Paige says. “It helps us track improvements and points us to the right resources.” Parkinson’s symptoms worsen over time, but they can be slowed with medication and prescribed physical therapies.
 
VSTBalance has several training tools/games to specifically improve memory and cognitive function, in addition to balance, endurance, and flexibility. Paige notes that the sequencing and memory games are especially useful for treating Parkinson’s patients. 
 
“It’s a proactive tool that correlates with our patients’ goals and it’s a more reliable way to quantify if their treatments are working,” Castillo notes.
 
To learn more about fall risk assessments using VSTBalance, click here.