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Gentiva Safe Strides(R) Home Balance Therapy Program is Reducing Risk of Dangerous Falls and Relieving Pain for Thousands of Older Americans

96% of Patients in National Survey Showed Reduction in Fall Risk

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Gentiva Safe Strides, the pioneering home balance therapy program from Gentiva Health Services, Inc., is reducing the risk of dangerous falls, relieving pain and increasing sensation for thousands of older Americans, according to a new national survey of more than 10,000 patients released today by the Company.

The year-long survey comprising 10,023 patients revealed these key findings:

-- 96% of patients treated by the program showed a reduction in their risk of falls between admission and discharge. Gentiva used the standardized Berg or Tinetti tests for aspects of balance to measure progress of 7,047 of the surveyed individuals.

-- Nearly 43% shifted their personal status from "fall risk" to "low fall risk" by the end of their treatment, based on the evaluation of 3,494 of the surveyed patients using the Dynamic Gait Index.

-- 80% reported a reduction in pain after treatment, according to the evaluation of 1,675 of the patients using the Analog Pain Measurement Scale.

-- 51% experienced sensation on at least one additional measured point, using the Semmes-Weinstein 5.07 Monofilament Test on 3,467 of the surveyed patients.

Among the survey group, 95% were age 65 or over and 69% were women. The data was compiled from January through December 2007.

Gentiva Safe Strides, launched in 2003 and available to qualifying Medicare beneficiaries and others, is a customized, home-based intervention program for the evaluation and treatment of balance dysfunction developed by a skilled and specially trained team of physicians, physical therapists, nurses and homecare administrators. According to the National Institutes of Health, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in persons over 65, about half of which can be attributed to some sort of balance disorder. The National Safety Council says the mortality rate from falls among older Americans has increased 39% between 1999 and 2005. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by 2020 the annual direct and indirect cost of fall injuries in America is expected to reach nearly $55 billion.

By evaluating and treating the root causes of balance-related disorders that lead to falls, including the body's balance, vision or sensation systems, Gentiva Safe Strides differs from traditional fall prevention programs that typically show patients how to walk with a cane or other assistive device and provide general strengthening exercises. And because Gentiva Safe Strides is delivered at home by physical therapists with advanced training, it helps patients to deal with their balance issues in a familiar daily living environment and avoid stressful trips to outpatient rehabilitation facilities.

"Our positive outcomes released today continue to demonstrate the clinical innovation and effectiveness of Gentiva Safe Strides, and are a testament to the work of Gentiva therapists and other clinicians to help change the lives of thousands of older Americans through treatments right in their own homes," said Beth Landry, PT, Vice President, Specialty Programs for Gentiva Health Services, Inc. "Behind these gratifying survey results are the personal stories of those whom we've helped to become more mobile, live more independently and conquer their fears of falling - from the woman who could walk her dog and say life was worth living again, to the elderly Florida pharmacist able to return to work, to the Hurricane Katrina survivor made mobile enough to reunite with relatives in New Orleans."

Gentiva Safe Strides is part of a nationwide drive by the Company to address major health issues facing a growing older population. "The success of Gentiva Safe Strides and our groundbreaking achievements in other specialized areas demonstrate our leadership in finding solutions to some of the most important health challenges of our time," said Dr. Charlotte Weaver, RN, Gentiva's Senior Vice President, Chief Clinical Officer. "Thanks to home health's emerging clinical advancements like those profiled here, we are elevating the quality of care, keeping a greater number of older Americans out of costly institutions and helping to manage national health expenditures at a time of spiraling costs for both government and private insurers."

More than 58,000 patients have been treated by Gentiva Safe Strides since its inception and it has attracted widespread interest among doctors, from gerontologists to neurologists to emergency room physicians. The program has continued to outpace its competition by deploying higher-level clinical specialists to upgrade Gentiva Safe Strides' training content and methods, and by assigning regional specialty directors to drive its growth and expansion. It is currently available in more than 120 locations covering 26 states under Gentiva and other company brand names.

Physicians and other interested parties may obtain a copy of the Gentiva survey results free of charge by contacting Steven Allred, Assistant Vice President, National Neurological Specialties, tel: 770-951-6187, e-mail: .

About Gentiva Health Services, Inc.

Gentiva Health Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: GTIV) is the nation's leading provider of comprehensive home health services. The Company serves patients across the United States, through its direct service delivery units or through CareCentrix(R), which manages home health services for major managed care organizations. Gentiva is a single source for skilled nursing; physical, occupational, speech and neurorehabilitation services; hospice services; social work; nutrition; disease management education; help with daily living activities; respiratory therapy and home medical equipment; infusion therapy services; and other therapies and services. Gentiva's revenues are generated from federal and state government programs, commercial insurance and individual consumers. For more information, visit Gentiva's web site,, and its investor relations section at . GTIV-G

Forward-Looking Statement

Certain statements contained in this news release, including, without limitation, statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "intends," "expects," "assumes," "trends" and similar expressions, constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based upon the Company's current plans, expectations and projections about future events. However, such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors include, among others, the following: economic and business conditions; demographic changes; changes in, or failure to comply with, existing governmental regulations; legislative proposals for healthcare reform; changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement levels, including changes to the Medicare home health Prospective Payment System effective January 1, 2008; effects of competition in the markets in which the Company operates; liability and other claims asserted against the Company; ability to attract and retain qualified personnel; availability and terms of capital; loss of significant contracts or reduction in revenues associated with major payer sources; ability of customers to pay for services; business disruption due to natural disasters or terrorist acts; ability to successfully integrate the operations of acquisitions the Company may make and achieve expected synergies and operational efficiencies within expected time-frames; effect on liquidity of the Company's debt service requirements; a material shift in utilization within capitated agreements; and changes in estimates and judgments associated with critical accounting policies and estimates. For a detailed discussion of certain of these and other factors that could cause actual results to differ from those contained in this news release, please refer to the Company's various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the "Risk Factors" section contained in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 30, 2007.

Media Contact: David Fluhrer



SOURCE Gentiva Health Services, Inc.
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