PACE helps participant return home after stroke

Area resident Cathy Shupe was struggling to live at home. She had recently suffered a stroke with right-sided weakness and was finding it difficult to regain her strength to stay safe and independent at home. Cathy was at risk for nursing home placement, though she was hesitant to give up on her dream of remaining at home with her beloved cat, Marmalade.

Cathy eventually enrolled in Mountain Empire Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Unfortunately, within two weeks of enrolling, she had several falls and no longer felt safe living at home alone.

With Cathy’s consent, PACE arranged for placement at a local nursing facility so she could focus on regaining her strength. During her stay there, Cathy continued attending PACE, where she could socialize while receiving medical services, therapy and social services.

Cathy worked with the PACE physical therapy team, which includes Shirly Mooney, PT, and Candice Wiggins, LPTA. Shirly and Candice targeted Cathy’s right-sided weakness through anodyne therapy. Anodyne therapy is a drug-free and non-invasive treatment that can help manage a person’s pain. Using this form of therapy decreased Cathy’s nerve pain.

Mooney and Wiggins also worked with her to improve her gait and stability, and Cathy eventually transitioned from a rolling walker to a single-point cane.

Cathy also received services from the PACE occupational therapy team, which includes Nazrin Scott, OT, and Wendy Phillips, COTA. Scott and Phillips worked with Cathy to improve her independence in mobility and Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

Scott and Phillips also performed assessments of Cathy’s mobility and home environment to determine the equipment Cathy would need to return home safely. They arranged to have a handrail installed outside the home and provided a few personal equipment items for use inside the home.

Once Cathy was physically improved enough to leave the nursing facility, the home itself needed a few repairs to accommodate her safety, including the replacement of a water line that had burst during her absence from the house.

PACE social workers and home care coordinator visited the home to assess the damage and help the family establish a restoration plan. The social workers assisted in locating water line repair services and put the family in touch with them to arrange the necessary repairs.

During this time, the family also arranged for someone to deep clean the home so Cathy would return to a nice, clean living environment.

Though circumstances beyond anyone’s control resulted in a longer nursing home stay than initially intended, Cathy was finally able to return home to Marmalade.

Cathy remains in her own home today. She attends PACE three times a week, where she continues to participate in therapy and receives other services as needed.

MEOC Transit picks Cathy up from her home in the mornings, delivers her to the PACE center where she can visit with her friends, and then picks her back up in the afternoons to return her safely home.

Once a month, PACE arranges to have all of Cathy’s necessary medications delivered right to her door to ensure she remains on the appropriate medication regimen.

If you were to ask Cathy about PACE, she wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that, while she wanted desperately to remain independent in her home, she was scared to be alone and afraid of falling.

She acknowledges that PACE therapy services were one of the key factors in helping her regain her strength, restore her confidence in her abilities and pave the way for her return home.

She enjoys coming to PACE because she can see the medical team if she has a clinical concern, participate in therapy, visit with friends and engage in other activities at the center. PACE, she says, gives her the chance to socialize but still return home every evening.

Cathy’s daughter, Jessica Fleenor, credits PACE as a vital role in her mother’s stroke recovery.

“I couldn’t have gotten Mom safely home without the help of PACE,” said Fleenor. “Mom has come a long way since her stroke last October. Therapy has been key in her recovery and still keeps her going strong. We are so thankful these services are available, and she is still able to live independently,” she stated.