Banner Neuro Wellness receives $90,000 to expand services


Banner Neuro Wellness offers a
variety of exercise and dance classes,
enrichment programs, support groups,
and more.

The American Parkinson Disease Association has awarded the Banner Health Foundation a $90,000 grant to support Banner Neuro Wellness, a multi-dimensional program for individuals and families experiencing neurological movement and degenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

Recognizing that support is needed beyond the walls of the neurologist’s office, Sheila and Alan Fitzgerald provided philanthropic funding 10 years ago to establish Banner Neuro Wellness in Gilbert, Ariz., as a “safe haven” of friendship, exercise, education, art, and support. An additional location at Banner Sun Health Research Institute now serves the northwest Valley.

Research has shown that vigorous exercise, stimulating interactions, inspirational learning, and social connection have a direct correlation to one’s ability to sustain and improve function and quality of life. Classes and programs at Banner Neuro Wellness utilize research-based practices to help individuals effectively manage symptoms in an environment that supports a sense of community. Members find camaraderie, new opportunities for socialization, and enhanced quality of life.

Banner Neuro Wellness offers a variety of exercise and dance classes, enrichment programs, support groups, social work services, private-pay physical therapy, and retreat services. Membership has grown to over 140, with increasing demand from the community to expand services to meet the growing need.

The $90,000 grant from the APDA will allow Banner Neuro Wellness to provide the services of a social worker, offering members ongoing counseling, cognitive behavior therapy, crisis intervention, strategies to prevent caregiver burnout, placement planning, and education, in both English and Spanish.

Funding will also support in-home safety evaluations and both in-home and on-site physical therapy to prevent falls and enhance patient mobility and safety. Physical therapy and exercise physiology services will be offered on a sliding scale for individuals who are uninsured, under-insured, or who have used up their insurance benefit for the year.

Funding will also support caregiver retreat/respite services, with full scholarships for those in need. These services include supervised, non-medical care for patients so that caregivers can take time away to address their personal needs, including delayed medical appointments, shopping and errands, hobbies, social visits, self-care, and rest necessary for physical and emotional recovery.

“Banner Neuro Wellness is a unique resource in the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease and their families,” says Annette Kluge, Associate Director of Community Outreach. “Thanks to our programs, education and support, individuals and families report a higher quality of life and show an increase in function and slowing of their disease progression.”

Kluge also says that many of the safeguards implemented to sustain program delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic—namely, delivering programs through virtual platforms--will remain in place, as these methods have expanded the reach of Banner Neuro Wellness beyond the walls of the neurologist’s office. “We are thankful to the ADPA for this generous support that will help us serve even more patients and caregivers in need,” she says.

“APDA is proud of our longtime partnership with Banner Neuro Wellness, from providing seed funding that helped establish the center years ago to helping provide everyday support through physical and occupational therapy programs, family, and care partner support groups, and so much more. Through our partnership with Banner, we are able to offer on-the-ground resources in Arizona that help people impacted by Parkinson’s live life to the fullest, and that means so much to us,” says Leslie A. Chambers, President & CEO, American Parkinson Disease Association.