JAMDA Article Highlights Effectiveness of PACE During COVID Pandemic

Posted on: February 1, 2024

WASHINGTON, DC – The effectiveness of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) during the COVID pandemic is detailed in a new article published by the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (JAMDA), the journal of the Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA).

PACE allows older adults to live independently at home while fully cared for by an interdisciplinary care team. PACE participants typically visit a PACE center several times a week for care, therapy, meals and socialization. During the pandemic, however, they received most of their care and other services at home.

The JAMDA article, titled “Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Organizations Flip the Script in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” examined two national surveys of PACE directors about innovations implemented during that time. “These findings highlight PACE organizations’ ability to empower nursing home-eligible older adults to remain living in their preferred residential setting and has implications for how best to serve this population,” the article stated.

The study findings indicated that “PACE organizations continued to keep participants at the forefront as they transitioned to a home-based model during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The key characteristics of PACE that contributed to the resilience of the program include a “strong emphasis on person-centered, team-based care, fully integrated service model, and flexible capitated payment structure.”

“The pandemic was an important proving ground for the ability of PACE organizations to flex the model and still retain their overall effectiveness,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association (NPA). “High quality care continued to be provided as seen in the substantially lower rates of COVID infection and death compared to nursing home residents during the pandemic.” 

The article reported that “PACE organizations … leveraged telehealth and remote monitoring to increase support to beneficiaries in their home, implemented various COVID-19 vaccine and infection prevention efforts, increased food and nutrition services provided in the home, and took steps to address social isolation and boredom, among other initiatives.” Most PACE organizations indicated they planned to continue delivering more services in the home, consistent with participant preferences.

“This study reiterates the importance of increasing access to PACE for all eligible older adults,” stated Bloom. “NPA calls on Congress and the Administration to do their part so seniors with complex care needs can age in place at home rather than in an institution.”

The National PACE Association (NPA) works to advance the efforts of PACE programs, which coordinate and provide 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.