3 Reasons Why Physical Therapy is Unique and Effective Within a PACE Program

Posted by Simone Goode, PT

| Skilled Nursing Facilities Physical Therapy

If you talk to most people about physical therapy, they have either received physical therapy themselves at some point or know a loved one who has.  As we say at Therapy Specialists, “Everyone needs a good physical therapist!”  Typically, people receive physical therapy at an outpatient clinic per their physician’s recommendation, or in the hospital immediately following surgery, or during a required stay at a skilled nursing facility.  But, physical therapy within a PACE program is just a little bit different.

PACE, which stands for Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, is just that. It offers patient-centered care that includes a variety of services:  medical, rehabilitation (PT, OT and Speech), dental, behavioral, dietary, nursing, transportation, social workers, recreation (divided by cognitive level), spiritual, hospitalizations, housing, placement assistance programs, caregiver training, basic health supplies, durable medical equipment and even a skilled nursing home stay (if necessary).  And best of all, the people that care for your needs are all high-level certified experts in their respective fields.

One of the primary benefits of the PACE program is accessibility to all the services mentioned above.  Among them is physical therapy, and with the natural aging process of our physical selves, physical therapy is a must have. Anyone who has struggled to get out of bed in the morning, is suffering from chronic pain, or simply felt a tweak in their back by climbing a staircase can attest to this.  Upon becoming a participant at PACE, you receive an initial PT assessment where a physical therapist evaluates your situation and provides a customized plan of care that helps you achieve your best possible health and well-being.

So, let’s look at what makes physical therapy unique and particularly effective within PACE:

  1. You will receive a full physical therapy assessment every 6 months.  Along with that you will receive as many physical therapy sessions as you need as well as regular monthly progress evaluations to help find out what is working best and what needs to be added to your plan of care.  Things such as home exercise programs, modalities for pain, caregiver training, patient education on pain management, body mechanics, etc. are all included in the care you receive.
  2. Physical therapy at PACE focuses not only on improving and correcting impairment, but also in preventing issues that may occur down the road.  Did you ever imagine that the amount of ankle flexibility you have right now can affect your ability to walk correctly, or how you’re the tightness in your hip can be the cause of your sciatica pain, or the way you rest your neck can affect how you swallow your food, or that standing on one foot for so many seconds can show us over time how your balance is doing?
  3. Physical therapists at PACE can also assess for the need of assistive devices and order the most appropriate equipment for each client.  PACE therapists provide one on one training on how to make best use of each device. Furthermore, when equipment gets old we replace it at no cost to you.

Discover St. Paul's PACE

And lastly, physical therapy at PACE is based on necessity, progress and results. At PACE, you have a physical therapist assessing you every year and giving you advice on how your balance is trending, what exercises or activities could help you, or if you have a problem that requires some physical therapy. And if you do need physical therapy, you get as many sessions as you need without the need to count the amount of sessions authorized by your insurance company. That is right! With physical therapy and the PACE program, you can receive the care you need without limitations. This is the way physical therapy should be.

If fell that you or a loved one could benefit from the physical therapy with a PACE program, you can find out if one is in your neighborhood on the national PACE association website.





Author Bio:

Simone is currently the director of rehabilitation services for St. Paul’s PACE Akaloa in Chula Vista. She oversees 350+ insured PACE participants, along with a team of 8 physical, occupational and speech therapists. Simone is more passionate about ensuring the provision of high quality therapy services and putting programs in place that help seniors achieve their highest quality of life. If she is not at work, she enjoys Pilates, cooking, spending time with her two children, husband and gathering with friends and family.