If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it’s that just about everything, except going somewhere, can be done at home. This has naturally had a huge effect on businesses, retail, and now, senior care.
At the outset of the COVID 19 crisis, and in response to the state’s “shelter at home” order, WelbeHealth in Pasadena transitioned from a central Pasadena location to a remote at-home care model to serve seniors, while keeping them physically shielded from the spread of the virus.
As explained on their website, PACE (The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) individually coordinates the care of each participant enrolled in the program, based on his or her needs with the goal of enabling them to remain living in their community. PACE is both a primary care provider and a health insurer. Currently, there are more than 240 PACE centers operating in more than 30 states.
“We had a day center where we wanted to prevent nursing home placement,” Regional VP & Pacific PACE Executive Director Sophia Guel-Valenzuela, explained Thursday. “We wanted to prevent trips to urgent care, or to the emergency room. We wanted to prevent people from isolation and loneliness.”
“So we bring them to our daycare center in Pasadena,” she continued. “We have activities, we have music therapy, we have recreation, we give them lunch. We have so many things to do, so many interactive, stimulating activities.”
But when the executive order came out for “shelter in place,” Pacific PACE suddenly had to support its participants in the home.
“So we basically implemented HomePACE,” said Guel-Valenzuela. “We transitioned to a HomePACE model where we are communicating with our participants with a Welbe Link. It’s a 4G LTE tablet.”
The simple-to-use tablet has become the key to instant communication between caregivers and patients, Guel-Valenzuela explained.
“We’re having video calls with our patients. And so we do recreation therapy. We have virtual bingo with them,” said Guel-Valenzuela. “They talk to their doctor, their social worker. Our personal care attendants have social calls with the patients. And so we’re supporting them as if they were in the center, but they’re out there at their home.”
The system organizes meal delivery as well, so patients don’t have to go out and be exposed unnecessarily to the grocery store or the pharmacy.
Pacific PACE Home also delivers all their medications to their home, and helps them with essentials like toothpaste and toilet paper.
‘We’re coordinating everything that they need to be safe,” Guel- Valenzuela pointed out. PACE also offers home care services, such as light housekeeping, and help with bathing and dressing.
Perhaps most importantly, though, the rate of confirmed COVID positive cases in PACE programs nationally is just 2.2%.
As Guel-Valenzuela noted, “Our care team is conducting daily phone calls for COVID-19 signs and symptoms among nearly 95 participants. We have not had any positive cases of COVID19, nor any hospitalizations related to COVID-19. We are equipped with appropriate PPE to serve our participants, and are literally saving lives through our HomePACE model of care.”
Following the success of the Pasadena program, WelbeHealth PACE plans a new operation in Long Beach on June 1.
For more information on the Pacific PACE program, click here.