Peace of Mind Begins with a Smile
Clinical Services Officer Lana DiCesare discusses the benefits of the Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) at McGregor for Russian Seniors in Cuyahoga County and provides details on how they can enroll.
What do you do for PACE?
As the Clinical Services Officer, I cover all clinical departments including transportation, day center, recreation, healthcare, homecare, and more.
How did you get involved with the PACE program?
I have been working for McGregor since 2010. I started as a Director of Nursing, where I obtained a lot of knowledge about what PACE does and how it allows people to stay home. I really like the philosophy of PACE, so I moved over about six years ago.
Can you tell me about the philosophy of PACE?
We help people who are at a nursing home level of care to stay at home with family and we assist the families in providing care at home. We pretty much provide all-around care to help seniors stay at home. We provide everything they need to be able to stay safely at home. If not for us, more than 600 people would end up in nursing homes, but most people want to stay home to live. So it’s our main mission to help them stay at home.
How would a Russian senior benefit from the PACE?
The main benefit of PACE is that they will gain the ability to stay at home. They will also get 24/7 reachability to a healthcare provider and nurses. I do not know of any other program that offers 24/7 access like this. We provide home care, and we can make appointments for them and accompany them to their appointment. We also provide a day center, where they can spend eight hours a day, five days a week. We provide transportation to the day center and to and from doctors appointments and even to the store and other places as well. Finally, we provide nursing on an as-needed basis; not once every three months, or once every six months, but as it is needed. We’re very accessible and communicate better than other programs that I know of. We pretty much provide all services and more that a nursing home can provide, but we focus on allowing participants to stay at home.
We also offer end-of-life care and chronic disease management. We manage their appointments outside of PACE and send them to specialists as needed. Participants can also see our doctor or nurse practitioner on-site, pretty much with same-day appointments available.
You’ve talked a lot about the accessibility of PACE, so how has PACE’s outreach and services improved over the last several years?
We provide more services to more people. We have over 600 participants now and over ten full-time healthcare providers, between doctors and nurse practitioners, which is enough to ensure that each participant has an individualized approach to their health. This is better than ever before.
Other than healthcare, how else does PACE serve the needs of participants?
We also have one social worker for every sixty participants, which is unusual in our industry. This is what allows us to be so accessible. In fact, each one of our social workers has a master’s degree in counseling, so they all can counsel not only participants, but their families as well. We are involved with participants and their families and we answer all phone calls within ten minutes. For our participants, we pretty much become part of their family, and they become part of our family.
Other than that, we provide equipment, meals, medications, and more to participants. It’s all included for those who are enrolled in PACE without additional payments. It’s a comprehensive program with no co-payments for anything. It’s all in one package with a great big bow.
Who is eligible to participate in the PACE program?
All participants must live in Cuyahoga County and be 55 or older. They also have to meet a nursing home level of care, meaning that they need help with two or more activities of daily living. They also need to be in a safe community, meaning that they have a safe place to live.
How does a person enroll in PACE?
We have an intake process, and if they contact us with interest, we call back within 24 hours to set up an appointment with an intake specialist to walk them through that process. We allow for both virtual and in-person appointments, and if the person does not speak English, we provide a translator. From there, participants provide documentation and paperwork and a healthcare provider will complete an assessment to ensure that level of care requirements are met. We provide whatever help they need through this whole process. At this point, we also give them and their families a tour of the day center so they can see all services provided before they enroll. When they do make the decision to enroll, we have a transition team in place to work with each participant to make sure their transition into PACE is as seamless as possible.
Can a person try PACE without enrolling?
Yes. They have to be in the enrollment process, but we allow them to experience the center for a day as a trial before they make the decision to enroll.
How do participants pay for PACE?
We accept Medicare, Medicaid, Dual Medicare and Medicaid, and private pay.
Is there anything else you want people to know about the PACE program?
There’s so much more to this program than people realize. What we talked about is just the tip of the iceberg in what we can do for participants and their families. We want to give families peace of mind so that they can go to work and do other things they need to do without worrying about their loved ones. And we want to bring individuals everything they need to live at home while being part of our community, so they never experience isolation or loneliness.