Peninsula Home Care Otago Patients See Results in Strength and Balance

Published on - July 17, 2017

SALISBURY, MD – Nancy Dennis says she feels 100% better. A statement that carries a lot of weight after undergoing back surgery, kidney failure, an infection and four blood transfusions in a matter of a year.

“Something happened to my legs,” said Dennis. “I had pain shooting down the back of them. My husband had to help me get up and down. Sometimes I couldn’t move at all.”

At the beginning of the year Nancy was admitted to the hospital after struggling for months with an infection that caused major fluid retention throughout her body.

“They pumped fifteen pounds of fluid off of me,” said Nancy. “I thought I was going to die.”

Already diagnosed anemic, she grew weaker as her blood count dropped to dangerous levels. When discharged from the hospital, her care was not complete. Home Care was prescribed and she qualified for the Otago strength and balance program administered by a Peninsula Home Care Otago certified physical therapist.

Today it’s a different scene at Nancy’s home in Salisbury. You might find her walking backwards in her living room, or in circles, or maybe even side stepping across the kitchen. She’s not dancing. She is independently working on her prescribed Otago exercises. She learned these from her Peninsula Home Care Otago Certified Physical Therapist Rod Filart.

“Before the Otago program, Nancy relied on a walker and cane to get around,” said Rod Filart, Peninsula Home Care physical therapist. “Now she walks without assistance and has improved her endurance so she can go further distances and for longer periods of time. Part of the program includes teaching patients how to do the exercises safely on their own which is a very important part of their success in building their strength and balance and preventing falls.”

“If I didn’t have physical therapy, I definitely would have fallen,” said Nancy. “Rod, my physical therapist and Christine, my nurse, were excellent.”

Peninsula Home Care believes in its people and in programs with proven success. Otago is one of them. The Otago Exercise Program, developed and tested by the New Zealand Falls Prevention Research Group, is recognized by the CDC and has been measured to reduce the rate of falls by 35 to 40%.

“When we look at the number of patients being admitted or readmitted to the hospital for falls we knew the Otago program was something we wanted to offer,” said Nancy Bagwell, area director of operations for Peninsula Home Care. “Muscle strength, flexibility, balance and reaction time are all risk factors for falls, but it is proven that they can easily be improved. The Otago program includes seventeen different exercises aimed at improving strength and balance for patients. We are proud to be the first in the region to offer this program to home care patients.”

Sample exercises prescribed three times a week include:

  • Sit to Stand
  • Knee Bends
  • Backwards Walking
  • Toe Walk

“The Otago exercises work,” added Nancy. “I can walk my dog Hunter again which makes us both very happy. And the best part – I don’t have to sit down all the time because my legs don’t feel like mush anymore.”

For more information on the Otago Exercise Program, call Peninsula Home Care at 410/543-7550 or visit

About Peninsula Home Care

Providing care for more than 30 years, Peninsula Home Care, in Salisbury, Maryland, ensures that all patients are involved in their plan of care and strives to give them every opportunity to maintain their independence in the home. The agency has served more than 39,000 patients on Delmarva and was designated as a Peninsula Regional Medical Center preferred home care provider in 2017.  For more information, visit


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