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Patient Care

Diagnosis can be difficult for non-movement disorder specialists. Our highly trained staff has a combination of experience and research that provides the skills necessary to aid in appropriately differentiating between these diseases.

Our broad spectrum of services includes:

  • Diagnostic evaluation and testing, including neurological exams, MRI and lab testing
  • Rehabilitative assessments and services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and swallowing evaluations and therapy
  • Evaluation and treatment of cognitive (thinking) and emotional problems and assessments of mental health
  • Medication to improve symptoms and, when possible, slow progression of the disorder
  • Surgical evaluation and treatments, when appropriate including programming and reprogramming of deep brain stimulators
  • Opportunities to participate in clinical studies examining new treatments for movement disorders
  • Educational programs for patients, caregivers and healthcare providers.
  • Information on what to expect from a disease and its progression local resources and support groups to help manage stress
  • A team of experts who are always available to answer your questions or will refer you to those who can

Therapeutic Care

Caring for patients is a top priority of the Movement Disorder Center. To provide the best care to help alleviate symptoms, we begin with a comprehensive evaluation.

In addition to the routine medical evaluation (i.e., physical examination and medical history), we also evaluate mental functioning, psychiatric health, motility and body functioning, and overall health satisfaction. Normally, a patient's caregiver or a family member comes with the patient to the clinic for evaluation. We involve family and caregivers in this important process, as they often can provide invaluable information relating to the patient's health status.

Once the initial evaluations are over and a course of action has been discussed with the patient and their caregiver or family member, the patient's therapeutic needs are addressed, as needed. These may include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and swallowing therapy
  • Psychological counseling

We also provide social services assistance, as needed.

After the patient begins their planned course of care, we continually monitor each aspect of their well-being through meetings with each type of therapeutic specialist, and update the care plan as needed.

We discuss all aspects of care with the patient and their caregiver or family members regularly, and input is greatly encouraged at all times. In fact, patients, family members and caregivers regularly call just to update us and ask questions as they think of them - and that's what we want!.

Education & Support

Our approach to patient care is to make patients as comfortable with their disorder as possible, with the hope that in time, more treatments and even cures will become available.

We address more than just the physical care of the patient. We also help alleviate some of the stressful "non-physical" aspects of dealing with these disorders. we also provide assistance to family members and caregivers, who can feel an enormous amount of stress and even depression.

To help alleviate some of these challenges, the Movement Disorder Center provides:

  • Information about the disease, its progression, and how to handle certain aspects of it, this helps ease feelings of loss of control. We inform patients and caregivers of some excellent organizations and websites dedicated to specific disorders.
  • Information about local, state, national and international support groups that are available and are specific to the disease in question, to help alleviate the feeling of being alone in dealing with the disorder.
  • Continual help and support over the phone. Sometimes reassurance is all that a patient or caregiver needs, while other times they may have specific questions that need answering or need general information about what to expect.
Attendees of the Essential Tremor Symposium, Autumn 2012 at UC San Diego Health System

Attendees of the Essential Tremor Symposium at UC San Diego Health System (Autumn 2012)

Why UC San Diego?

At UC San Diego Movement Disorder Center, you don't just get a doctor, you get a whole team of experienced clinicians, nurses, therapists and other professionals who use the latest techniques based on leading-edge research done right here at UC San Diego and around the world.

We know the effects of a disease can extend beyond the patient to family members and other caregivers. That's why we offer education and support, and we treat the whole person by offering integrated services such as:

  • A neuropsychologist who helps address and researches cognitive (thinking) functioning and depression that may be part of movement disorders
  • Deep brain stimulation with board-certified Neurosurgeon
  • Physical and occupational therapists to provide individualized rehabilitation evaluations and treatment
  • Speech therapy, including Lee Silverman Voice Therapy
  • A clinical research coordinator who works with patients and physicians involved in research studies
  • Medical assistants who coordinate care and medication support
  • Durable medical equipment – we can make referrals to obtain devices or equipment for home treatment
  • A nurse practitioner with expertise in movement disorders
  • Botulinum toxin therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral interventions for tics - (CBIT)/Habit reversal therapy provided by a trained nurse practitioner
  • Referrals to other specialists, as needed

See Our Team to learn more about our practitioners.

"It's only Parkinson's"

This film, produced by Lyon & Associates, shares the story of UC San Diego patient Dave Opdyke through his experience with deep brain stimulation surgery as therapy for Parkinson's disease. LYON states,"It was an honor to follow Dave Opdycke through his experience with Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. This short film is the result of a real collaboration that involved many people who didn't end up appearing in the final edit. Please accept our heartfelt thanks for your contributions.”