Cassandra Jefferson of Chattanooga, Tennessee, didn’t want to put her mother, who has multiple sclerosis, in a nursing home, but she had begun to realize that she might have no choice. The required care was getting to be too much for Jefferson, who worked long hours before rushing home to relieve her brother. And her mother’s medical needs weren’t all being met.
That was before a program called PACE stepped in.
The National Pace Association (NPA) is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes PACE programs, which work to meet the healthcare needs of the elderly and help them to remain in their homes instead of going to a nursing home or other facility. (PACE stands for Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly.)
It is an integrated care model that “combines Medicare, Medicaid and private funding to provide a community-based option for individuals who qualify for a nursing home level of care,” an association press release states.
“Transportation comes to pick up my mother in the morning and bring her back … I am able to go to the store, able to do some running around before she comes,” Jefferson said in a video posted Sept. 11 by the NPA.
According to Jefferson, PACE also provides several healthcare services to her mom that she would otherwise have not been able to receive.
The recorded narrative, part of Pace’s 2.0 project, is the fifth in a series of “Before I Found Pace” video testimonials to highlight the benefits of Programs of All-Inclusive Care (PACE).
“As people live longer, more often than ever family members can find themselves in the role of caregiver,” Peter Fitzgerald, the NPA’s executive vice president of public policy and strategy, and chief investigator of PACE 2.0., said in a separate press release.
PACE provides and coordinates a small team of healthcare professionals who work with patients and their families to provide care and services at home, in the community, and in a PACE center, when necessary. The centers can provide healthcare and social activities.
Some of the services PACE covers include primary care, dentistry, emergency services, home and hospital care, meals, occupational and physical therapy, preventive care, social services, PACE center transportation, and prescription medications.
PACE also lowers costs associated with emergency room visits, unnecessary hospital stays, and long-term nursing home placements.
More than 34 million people in the U.S. provide at least informal care to someone over age 50, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
“A recent survey of PACE family caregivers illustrates how PACE can reduce their burden and burnout,” Fitzgerald said.
The survey showed that 49.6 percent of family members reported high caregiver burden at the time their loved one enrolled in PACE. After enrollment, more than 58 percent of those who had described their caregiver burden as moderate to high reported less burden.
The survey also showed that 96.6 percent of caregivers are satisfied with PACE support, and 97.5 percent would recommend the program to others. NPA conducted the survey in collaboration with Vital Research.
Those eligible for PACE must be age 55 or, live in a PACE organization service area (available in 31 states), in need of nursing home-level care, and able to live safely in the community with help from PACE.
For more information about PACE and whether there’s a program nearby your home area, please visit this link.
The “Before I Found Pace” video testimonials offer a personalized look at how PACE impacts program participants and caregivers. Other PACE videos include a story about services rendered to a woman after a stroke by Cherokee Elder Care, the only PACE organization sponsored by a Native American tribe; a woman who cares for her mother who has dementia; the experience of a rural Oklahoma woman who has two relatives enrolled in Cherokee Elder Care; and a man who battled addiction and homelessness before enrolling in PACE.
For Jefferson and her mother, much as been gained. She no longer needs to take time from work to shuttle her mother to doctor visits. And her mother, Lucille Bell, gets medical care at the PACE center, and engages in recreational activities.
“The services that PACE provides for my mother is everything that I could ever pray and hope for,” Jefferson concluded.
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