The PACE month theme “Driving Independence” celebrates PACE teams’ success in keeping enrollees in the community
The theme for National PACE Month in September is “Driving Independence,” celebrating the role of PACE drivers and other interdisciplinary team members in promoting independence for seniors.
“Driving Independence” is an important theme for our first National PACE Month. Only in a fully integrated model of care like PACE could transportation play such an important role in keeping seniors with long-term needs living safely in the community,” said National PACE Association President and CEO Shawn Bloom. “Every senior enrolled in PACE meets the requirements for nursing home care, yet 95% of PACE enrollees live in the community.”
PACE is an acronym that stands for Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly. It is a fully-integrated, provider-based model of care that revolves around an interdisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers, dietitians, drivers and others directly providing much of the care and services each senior needs.
In Greater Boston and South Eastern Massachusetts area, Harbor Health Services, Inc. sponsors the Harbor Health Elder Service Plan, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Harbor Health Elder Service Plan has served the community for 21 years helping seniors to live in the community for as long as possible.
Harbor Health Services became committed to developing a PACE program once we learned that it created the best opportunity for our staff to deliver the highest quality of life to the seniors we serve,” said Kathy Burns, Vice-President and Executive Director.
Nationally there are 239 PACE centers serving over 40,000 PACE enrollees in 31 states.
Building on the success of the PACE model, Congress recently passed bi-partisan legislation to adapt the model to serve other high cost, high need individuals who could benefit from the highly coordinated and personalized care PACE provides. Policy makers see a key role for PACE to serve younger physically or mentally disabled individuals or those with multiple chronic conditions in the future.
“PACE is an innovative model that continues to adapt and change as public policy, technology, and even the seniors that we serve change,” Bloom said. It is successful because it is based on building relationships between the member so the PACE team and enrollees.”
The “Driving Independence” theme celebrates the importance of the relationship between the PACE van driver to many of PACE enrollees.
“Transportation drivers in PACE don’t just offer curb to curb transportation,” Bloom said. “More often than not they are the ones entering an enrollee’s home to help them to the van. They are trained to look for changes in the home environment or in the level of assistance an enrollee needs. By identifying changes quickly, the PACE program can plan treatments and interventions immediately before larger issues surface.”
On Average PACE provides an enrollee 16 trips in a typical month.
“I know many PACE enrollees will tell things to their driver that they would never tell their doctor, Bloom said. “Because PACE staff work as a team, important information is shared to all those providing care.”
PACE programs coordinate and provide all needed preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services so older individuals can continue living in the community. The PACE model of care is centered on the belief that it is better for the well-being of seniors with chronic care needs and their families to be served in the community whenever possible. For more information, visit the Harbor Health Elder Service Plan website at www.elderserviceplan.org or contact Julie Richer at 617-533-2437