Medical Professionals

If you have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), you may not yet appreciate that eventually you may need to be treated by quite a few different medical specialists.

Everyone should establish a solid relationship with a primary care physician (PCP). This is especially true if you have Parkinson’s disease (PD). Your PCP is the first doctor you will go to if you are not feeling well.

If your PCP suspects you might have a disease of the brain and/or nervous system, you will be referred to a neurologist.

If you consider your PCP as one cornerstone of your medical support team, your neurologist will be the other. These two professionals will become two of the most important people in your life. Choose wisely!

A general neurologist may treat more than 100 different conditions, one of which is Parkinson’s disease. Neurology is a broad and complex field.

Some neurologists, once they have completed their general training, elect to do two more years of study in a specialty, sometimes referred to as a “fellowship.” The study of movement disorders is one example. PD is a movement disorder.

Given a choice, select a movement disorder neurologist as the second cornerstone of your PD medical team.

Regardless of what kind of neurologist you choose, determine if they collaborate with therapists you will need as your disease progresses. Assure the existence of strong lines of communication between your neurologist and those therapists. If not, you may want to consider other alternatives for treatment.

People with PD who live in or nearby The Villages are blessed when it comes to access to great medical care. The Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, which is part of University of Florida Health (UF Health) is located a short distance away in Gainesville, Florida. Fixel is a center of excellence for PD. The facility offers integrated, interdisciplinary care. Most of the specialists needed to manage the disease reside on their campus. Included are movement disorder neurologists, deep brain stimulator surgeons and programmers, occupational therapists, speech and swallowing specialists, physical therapists, psychologists, and more. The center does research directed at finding ways to lessen disease symptoms with the hope of eventually finding a cure and they offer fellowships for neurologists to obtain a movement disorder specialty.

Many PD clients that live in The Villages go to Fixel for their treatment.

Fixel often refers clients to specialists in The Villages for treatment, such as seeing occupational therapists and physical therapists, thus reducing the need for their clients to drive to Gainesville.

Call for an appointment. A referral may be requested. A referral from your PCP is usually sufficient. (352) 294-5400

Dr. Anette Nieves, is a movement disorder neurologist with an office in nearby Ocala, Florida. Many “Villagers” see her. For those that live in the northern part of The Villages, her office is conveniently located just a short distance away. (352) 901-6210.

Dr. Ramon Rodriguez is a movement disorder neurologist with a practice in Orlando. He did his movement disorder fellowship at Fixel. Dr. Rodriguez has been a speaker at the Bradenton support group in The Villages. (407) 916-0304. Some folks with PD in, or nearby, The Villages may see him.

Dr. Mitesh Lotia is a movement disorder neurologist at AdventHealth Neuroscience Institute in Orlando. (407) 303-8158. Dr. Lotia was a featured speaker at The Parkinson’s Foundation’s Mind, Mood and Motion event held at the Brownwood Hotel and Spa, The Villages, Florida, on August 17, 2023. Some folks with PD in, or nearby The Villages may see him.

There are many other neurologists in or in the vicinity of The Villages. Many treat people with PD. Do an internet search for “neurologists near me”. Call and ask if their practice treat PD.

Attend some of the support groups in The Villages. Ask attendees whom they see. Folks readily share who they see for medical care. This is a great way to find not only a neurologist, but also all of the specialties you will need over the course of the disease.


Hospital Safety Guide for Parkinson’s Disease


If you have PD and need to go to a hospital, you will benefit from taking a completed Parkinson’s Foundation Hospital Safety Guide with you. The Guide is available from the Parkinson’s Foundation at

Rose Lang is a Parkinson’s Foundation Ambassador specializing in the hospital guide. She lives in The Villages. She attends many of the support groups. Attend a support group and ask to be introduced to Rose. She will assist you in getting a guide.

To see a 30-minute interview with Rose where she speaks about the “Aware in Care Hospital Safety Kit”, click here! Although the interview covers a kit which is no longer available having been replaced by the Hospital Safety Guide, what she speaks about is informative. You could obtain a small toiletry bag and build your own hospital safety kit based upon Rose’s content recommendations. For a more recent article about Rose and hospital safety, have a look at an article published in June 2004 in Health Living Magazine. Click here to read the article.

Rehabilitation-Only Hospital

Folks with PD are often discharged from a hospital stay, to an in-patient facility for physical and/or occupational therapy. There are two choices: a skilled nursing facility or a rehabilitation-only hospital.

A skilled nursing facility provides 1 to 2 hours of rehabilitation therapy a day. Staffing may include nursing assistants certified in long term care who report to an RN or licensed practical nurse. A physician may visit the client 1-3 times a week. PT and OT therapies are provided by people trained in those disciplines and they may not be there every day. Clients in the facility may be there to recover from an injury or disease or may be at the end of life.

An inpatient rehabilitation facility focuses on clients that are expected to be capable of being discharged to their home, or to an independent living or assisted living environment once therapy is completed. Clients receive a minimum of 3 hours of therapy a day, which might include PT, OT, and speech, and other specialties. There are daily physician visits. Nurses are mostly RNs that are qualified in rehabilitative care.

A two-year study, “Assessment of Patient Outcomes of Rehabilitative Care Provided in Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities and After Discharge”, published in 2014, reported “shorter client stays in an inpatient rehabilitation facility and better clinical outcomes, to include reduced post-discharge mortality, than a skilled nursing facility”! Google Dobson and DaVanzo.

There are many skilled nursing facilities in or nearby The Villages. Ask your doctor for a recommendation or seek the advice of those you meet at support group meetings.

There are four rehabilitation-only hospitals in or nearby The Villages. They are in Ocala, Clermont, Tavares, and at the UF Health The Villages Hospital.

Rehabilitation services – UF Health The Villages® Hospital – UF Health, which is located in the northern part of The Villages, has a floor dedicated to in-hospital rehabilitation. A number of those with Parkinson’s disease have benefitted from a stay at that facility. It is often filled up with people who have been transferred from a surgery procedure at the hospital to the rehabilitation floor. It may be challenging to be admitted directly without being in the hospital beforehand. Check with the hospital. (352) 751-8595.

Multiple people in The Villages with PD have benefitted from a stay at the Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital in nearby Ocala. One was admitted after surgery. Others went in for a “Parkinson’s tune-up” and went directly from their home to the facility with no pre-general-hospital stay. (352) 282 4001.

Encompass is part of a chain of rehabilitation facilities located throughout the USA.

An Encompass hospital recently opened in Clermont, Florida, which is a short distance from The Villages and surrounding area. (689) 946-1000.

To learn about the experience of one person in The Villages that went to the Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital at Ocala, Florida for a Parkinson’s tune-up, click here!

Encompass has announced a plan to build a new facility in The Villages south of route 44. It is scheduled to open in 2025.

There is a PAM Rehabilitation Hospital in Taveras, Florida (352) 525-3001. To learn about the experience of one person in The Villages that went to the PAM Rehabilitation Hospital in Taveras, Florida for a Parkinson’s tune-up, click here!







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