PACE SWMI Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary During First National PACE Month

September 6, 2017

PACE of Southwest Michigan (SWMI) is celebrating its five-year anniversary during the first National PACE Month.

National PACE Month recognizes the work of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE®), which coordinate and provide all needed preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services so older adults can continue living at home in their community. This year’s theme is “Delivering Independence,” celebrating the role of PACE drivers in promoting independence for seniors.

“Only in a fully integrated model of care like PACE could transportation play such an important role in keeping seniors with long-term needs living safely in the community,” said Shawn Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE Association (NPA). “PACE drivers don’t just offer curb-to-curb transportation. They enter the enrollee’s home to help them to the van and are trained to look for changes in the home environment or in the level of assistance an enrollee needs. By identifying changes quickly, the PACE program can plan assessments, treatments and interventions immediately before larger issues surface.”

There are 239 PACE centers in 31 states serving more than 40,000 seniors. Since opening in September 2012, PACE SWMI has served more than 280 participants in Berrien and parts of Cass and Van Buren counties. Over 3,500 seniors in the PACE SWMI service area struggle with health issues that jeopardize their ability to stay living at home.

“Every senior enrolled in PACE meets the requirement for nursing home care, yet 95 percent of PACE enrollees live in the community,” reported Therese Saggau, executive director of PACE SWMI. “PACE is an innovative model that continues to adapt and change as public policy, technology, and even the seniors who we serve change. PACE is successful because it is based on building relationships between enrollees and the members of the PACE interdisciplinary team.”

PACE SWMI is celebrating its five-year anniversary and the many lives that have been enhanced by its services, she said. “We have come a long way in five years. With the creation of our Optimal Care program, the implementation of the participant satisfaction survey, and extended collaboration with our community partners, we are continuously finding new ways to enhance the care we provide to our participants.”

Medical director Erika Nearpass, DO, stated, “The rising cost of health care coupled with fragmented health care options can make it difficult for families to find the best, most cost-effective care. PACE is an evidence-based program with a record of decreasing hospital stays and nursing home utilization and increasing the coordination of prescriptions and care. PACE plays a significant role in the overall care of our seniors while supporting their choice to remain in their home.”

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