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After a pilot program was deemed highly successful, a senior living operator is offering recovery technology to residents as part of its community wellness and therapy program.

Tucson, AZ-based Watermark Retirement Communities is partnering with HealthPRO Heritage rehabilitation specialists to offer Hyperice compression and pulse technology to residents. The various therapies use temperature, vibration and compression to try to increase range of motion in joints, reduce muscle soreness and improve blood flow to enhance mobility. 

Watermark noted that half of all older adults experience persistent musculoskeletal pain, which can contribute to physical disabilities, social isolation, depression and anxiety, according to a 2020 clinical review.

The company tested five different types of Hyperice devices in a five-month pilot program at three of its communities. Each community offered the devices in different ways, Parkview in Frisco, TX, rented devices to residents through a community life partnership; Woodbury Mews in Woodbury, NJ, employed home healthcare workers to use the devices on residents; and The Preston of the Park Cities in Dallas hired physical therapists to use the devices on residents.

The pilot program produced a 97% satisfaction rate, with residents reporting 100% improvement in comfort levels and in being more mobile, Watermark said. Results also showed a 22% reduction in swelling and a 28% reduction in pain, and residents reported “significant relaxation or relief,” the company said.

“If you’re looking to avoid opioids, narcotics and other controlled substances, these are incredible data points that look at the natural ways of using technology to heal the body,” Hyperice Director of Business Development Brendan Bergson said.

Due to the success of the pilot program, Watermark now offers all five Hyperice devices at all of its communities as part of outpatient physical therapy through HealthPRO Heritage. There is no additional cost for residents to include the therapies in existing wellness and therapy programs.

“As caregivers in these communities, we have a responsibility to our residents and wanted to be sure we were really providing them with the most appropriate tools,” Watermark National Director of Health Strategy Stephanie Boreale said. “After a pilot program, we realized that funneling this through a clinical model made more sense than simply buying these pieces of equipment right off the Hyperice website and telling residents to use them at their own risk. We wanted to be sure we were supplying them with not just the most appropriate tools, but also professional supervision.”