Meet your Parkinson's Health Coach
Let me introduce myself. My name is Shana Gatschet. I’ve been an Occupational Therapist since 1998 and I have always had a passion for working with those with neurological conditions. My strong desire to work with those affected by Parkinson’s began in 2011 when I continuously heard the same story from my patients over and over again… “I was just diagnosed. My doctor gave me a prescription for medication and said ‘See you in 6 months.’ ” Unfortunately, this pattern is often continued throughout all stages of Parkinson’s leaving many confused, overwhelmed and scared. Ultimately, much of patient care is dictated by insurance and many are sent away to learn more on their own without much direction at all. It is a broken system and I am leading the change to fix it through Parkinson’s Connect.
Why I Chose to Help Those with Parkinson’s was to bridge the gap. The “others” involved in one’s Parkinson journey can be a caregiver, loved one, friend, paid caretaker, medical provider, staff member and those involved in your movement regime, such as an OT, PT or personal trainer. This bridge entails education and empowerment, strategic coaching and providing community resources to live WELL with Parkinson’s Disease.
I began my journey in working with those with Parkinson’s Disease in 2011 and have had various trainings and certifications since that time. Often times, people will ask me if I have had a personal connection to this disease, and I do not, or at least did not at that time. Rather, my passion grew from engaging with those with Parkinson’s and their families and seeing how much a difference can be made, simply with education and training. I believe that many feel very lost and without hope… only because they haven’t seen for themselves what IS possible along this road. Do I now have a personal connection? Absolutely. More than I can count.
- Volunteer and Board Member for the Parkinson’s Association of the Plains since 2012
- PWR! Volunteer at the PWR! Retreat in 2013 in Scottsdale, AZ
- 2013 Wichita Health Care Hero for Innovations by the Wichita Business Journal
- 2018 Certified Rock Steady Boxing Coach
- 2018 Clinical Excellence Award by the Kansas Occupational Therapy Association
Every year, about 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common degenerative neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease. The most common age of diagnosis is 65-75 years and about 4% are diagnosed before age 50, terming this as young onset.
Research has shown ways to slow down the progression and fight Parkinson’s, but as with anything, education and persistence are key. Parkinson’s disease is a Movement Disorder and we fight it through movement and understanding the disease to make necessary changes to improve. Sometimes, even just the smallest suggestions or making someone aware of slowly progressing symptoms can make all the difference.
Parkinson Connect is a Healthcare and Wellness Concierge services that connects those with Parkinson’s and their families/loved ones/caregivers conveniently in their home, community or over the internet. So yes! You do NOT need to be from the Wichita area to determine how to fight Parkinson’s. You just need the first step and join me in the fight.