LONGMONT - Life Care Center of Longmont has been named a Rehab Center of Excellence by its parent company, Life Care Centers of America.

Each Life Care Center undergoes an annual 111-point audit of how its rehabilitation team works with other departments to provide a cohesive plan of care. Regional rehab associates score the teams on environment, human resources, clinical programming and systems management.

Facilities that achieve high scores on the audit are eligible to develop a specialty program based on the community's needs. Once that specialty has been evaluated and shown to be strong, the facility is designated a Rehab Center of Excellence.

Summit Rehab, Life Care Center of Longmont's outpatient rehab component, developed a Parkinson's rehab specialty program based on guidelines from the National Parkinson's Foundation's Allied Team Training program.

The facility in Longmont is the second in the company to achieve this distinction. The first was Life Care Center of Greeley, which earned the Rehab Center of Excellence designation for its vestibular specialty. Life Care Centers of America operates or manages 22 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities in Colorado.

"A lot of people with Parkinson's disease had to travel more than an hour each way to see a Parkinson's neurologist in Denver," said John Dean, outpatient manager. "It just wasn't going to be feasible for them to do the right intensity and quality of treatment to make a real difference in the disease. I didn't understand why there was nobody providing this kind of programming in our area already, so I started to build it."

Physical, occupational and speech therapists at the facility have undergone disease-specific training to help patients regain or retain as much independence as possible. These interventions help Parkinson's patients walk, talk, swallow and perform the fine-motor tasks used in daily life. Summit Rehab also added a board-certified specialist in biofeedback for incontinence.

"We see patients at all levels, including long-term residents, short-term rehab residents and outpatients," Dean said. "In fact, our short-term rehab patients often become our outpatients based on their experiences with our program."

The program has had a wide reach. Associates have organized fundraisers for the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's and the Parkinson's Association of the Rockies. Therapists have trained associates at other area Life Care centers, and Dean has presented about the program at Movement Disorders Society conferences in Canada and Ireland. In March, he will present at the American Medical Directors Association national conference in Washington, D.C.

"Longmont has dedicated its resources to improve the skills of its clinicians, design their environment and track successful outcomes from their well-executed plan of treatments," said Mike Reams, Life Care Centers of America's senior vice president for rehab services. "This is a facility the community can count on for recovery from illness and a return to wellness."

For more information about the Parkinson's rehab specialty program, call Dean at (303) 776-5000.