Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly
Will Assist Frail Elderly in Aging in Place, Safely at Home
WINCHESTER, Va., May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Blue Ridge Hospice has been awarded approval from the Commonwealth of Virginia to operate a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) to assist the frail elderly in the northern Shenandoah Valley to remain safely at home.
The award, from Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), was made to Blue Ridge Independence at Home. Blue Ridge Hospice formed the new organization and its Board of Directors to organize and operate the PACE program.
Blue Ridge Independence at Home expects to enroll its first PACE participants in late summer or early fall of 2023. The program will initially open a PACE site in Winchester City or Frederick County in Virginia to serve surrounding counties with the goal of expanding to an additional site into eastern Loudoun County the following year.
“PACE programs coordinate and provide all needed preventive, primary, acute, and long-term care services so older individuals can continue living in the community,” explains Jason Parsons, Chief Business Development Officer of Blue Ridge Independence at Home and Blue Ridge Hospice. “PACE is an innovative model of care that enables individuals age 55 and over and who are certified by the state to need nursing home care to live as independently as possible,” he explained. “Through PACE, today’s fragmented health care financing and delivery system comes together to serve the unique needs of each individual in a way that makes sense to the frail elderly, their family members and informal caregivers, health care providers, and policy-makers.”
PACE provides total senior care through a team of professionals that goes far beyond the primary care needs of a PACE participant. Team members, which include a doctor, nurse, home care coordinator, social worker, dietitian, physical therapist, occupational therapist, recreational therapist, pharmacist, dental assistant, and others, work together to coordinate and deliver all of a participant’s health and care needs. In addition to medical care, PACE provides transportation to and from a local PACE site where participants enjoy the benefits of socialization and companionship while accessing medical care services. PACE home care coordinators visit the homes of participants to assess the need for home modifications to ensure the participants can thrive in a safe environment.
Using a capitated or per member/per month payment system, PACE programs are responsible for providing the entire continuum of care and services to older adults with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence at home for as long as possible. Participants must be age 55 or older and be at risk for nursing home placement. PACE participants have been shown to enjoy improved health status and quality of life, lower mortality rates, increased choice in how time is spent, and greater confidence in dealing with life’s problems.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for the northern Shenandoah Valley area,” commented George Caley, MHA, FACHE, Chairman of the Board of Blue Ridge Hospice. “PACE will meet an essential need, especially as our population continues to grow, as we strive to ensure our older residents can remain safely at home,” Caley observed. “PACE will be a significant contributor to the quality of life here as the area continues to grow and attract new residents and businesses,” he added.
“Although the first program opened in California more than 40 years ago, PACE has been gaining in popularity and recognition in recent years as the healthcare system adopts what are known as value-based models of care,” Parsons noted. As an example he cited an article that appeared in the March 12, 2022, New York Times under the headline: “Meet the Underdog of Senior Care: The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, funded by Medicare and Medicaid, Has Quietly Succeeded in Enabling Some Elderly Americans To Age in Place.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/12/health/elderly-health-care-pace.html)
“The Blue Ridge Hospice Board of Directors in 2021 revised the organization’s Mission—”Brightening life’s journey with quality and compassionate care for all whom we are privileged to serve”—with a program like PACE specifically in mind,” said Blue Ridge Hospice President and CEO Cheryl Hamilton Fried. “While we will always hold on to our legacy as the first hospice provider to serve the northern Shenandoah Valley, we’re committed to evolving and adding new services, leveraging our culture of a quality, caring interdisciplinary team to ensure the frail elderly and disabled who are not ready for hospice have a place to receive essential care.”
As the area’s PACE provider, Blue Ridge Independence at Home will be responsible for delivering all needed medical and supportive services to its participants. Typical PACE services include the following:
- Adult day care that offers nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, as well as meals, nutritional counseling, social work and personal care,
- Medical care provided by a PACE physician familiar with the history, needs, and preferences of each participant,
- Home health care and personal care,
- All necessary prescription drugs,
- Social services,
- Medical specialties, such as audiology, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and speech therapy,
- Respite care, and,
- Hospital and nursing home care when necessary.
“The PACE program operated by Blue Ridge Independence at Home will forever change quality of life for our elderly friends and neighbors, their loved ones and caregivers, and the healthcare and social services providers who care for them,” Fried concluded.
You can learn more about the PACE model of care, by visiting the National PACE Association at npaonline.org.
About Blue Ridge Hospice
Blue Ridge Hospice is a community-based, not-for-profit serious illness and end-of-life care provider that has been serving friends and neighbors across the northern Shenandoah Valley since 1981. With a mission of “brightening life’s journey with quality and compassionate care for all whom we are privileged to serve,” Blue Ridge Hospice serves Winchester City and the northern Virginia counties of Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren. Accredited by The Joint Commission, Blue Ridge Hospice consistently exceeds the national averages for quality as reported on Medicare’s Hospice Compare website. To learn more about Blue Ridge Hospice visit www.brhospice.org, or call 540-313-9200.
SOURCE Blue Ridge Hospice