Now Onsite: Powerback

This article was researched and written by Jaya Iyer. Jaya is a junior at Charlotte Latin, and one of three interns working at Memory & Movement Charlotte over the summer of 2022.

What makes the new PT, OT, and speech therapy center at MMC so special? Powerback Rehab, previously known as Genesis Rehab, chose Memory and Movement Charlotte as their first and only location inside a medical practice nationwide.

Kathleen Lawrence in the Powerback Gym at MMC

While MMC referred patients to Powerback in past years, the expansion of June 2022 created space for the partnership to grow. Kathleen Lawrence, a physical therapist and Director of Rehab, said, “We have a very unique relationship that should be the gold standard for Neurological and movement disorder care. Our relationship melds the two most important aspects when treating movement disorders—MD care and therapy.” Having Powerback onsite allows for one-of-a-kind interactions that aid everyone. “Having the ability to immediately get feedback from the MD's or therapists will be a great benefit to everyone. The benefit of being onsite is that the MD's can see their patients in their therapy session and how they are responding to the interventions we are providing,” Lawrence added.

Powerback’s flexibility provides families with the choice to receive therapy in the office or at home. Speech therapist, Jessica Martin, reflected on the incomparable pros of both options for patients in different situations. “[The gym] is really great because of the equipment, especially for physical therapy. The home is great because we are able to do things that are functional, so if someone is having a hard time getting up and down their stairs, we can’t mimic that at the gym, but if we need to do things that are challenging their balance, we can do that at the gym more.” She explained that software programs also exist that patients can work on at home in between sessions. Martin elaborated, “Especially for speech therapy, it seems to be doing well at their houses. They like the privacy, especially when we are trying to work on the LOUD program or even if we’re doing cognitive therapy. Some of that they don’t want to be doing in a gym space because it’s more personal.”

Not only do the exercises help manage movement disorder symptoms, but they yield cognitive results as well. “We work on dual tasks—doing two things at once,” Martin stated. “Physical therapy is going to be working on it but in addition, speech therapy—we work on different tasks to challenge the brain, whether it be multitasking, whether it be reminders, whether it be word finding.”

Much like MMC, Powerback operates by a set of goals putting the patients’ needs first, starting with respect. This shared interest is the reason why MMC decided to team up with Powerback. Lawrence expressed, “We value patient relationships, and that enhances the patient’s therapy sessions and outcomes. We become a part of the patient’s story as they are dealing with their neurologic condition, and we will become their lifelong therapists, joining them in their journey.” Martin said, “We hope that we are all able to work together to keep everyone living at home or in their environment as long as possible. We want to be able to stay on top of all of the latest research with Parkinson’s in conjunction with the Memory and Movement programs.”

Looking ahead towards the future, Lawrence described her vision for the two partners. “I see this program expanding to additional services being provided outside of therapy, such as group classes, supported outings in the community, and more educational opportunities.” Sanjay Iyer, MMC’s Movement Disorders Specialist and Medical Director, said, “Multi-disciplinary care provides the best opportunity to address all of the medical and social issues. We hope that our partnership with Powerback will become the new normal and redefine the standard of care for families challenged by dementia and movement disorders.”