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Senior LIFE Announcements and Updates:

COVID Demonstrates That the PACE Model Is Safer and More Effective Than Nursing Home Care | January 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that PACE/LIFE Programs, with their focus on keeping participants at home and in the community, are safer and more effective than nursing home care. The Senior LIFE healthcare program is a provider of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) called LIFE in Pennsylvania.

Senior LIFE is a Medicare and Medicaid approved long-term care program that provides complete medical care and supportive services for persons 55 years and older so that they can remain living in their home.

According to the National PACE Association, the rate of LIFE/PACE residents that have died from COVID is one third lower than for nursing home residents.  The rate of cases among PACE participants was also one third lower than nursing home residents.

During the pandemic, the LIFE/PACE model has demonstrated resiliency and increased potential for the future by continuing to provide all the care and services necessary to keep their participants safe in the community. In response to COVID-19, Senior LIFE has substantially and swiftly adapted to continue to meet all members’ care and service’s needs:

  • Maintained existing home-based services for members and shifted provision of most of their center-based services into members’ homes to minimize the risk of infection and help protect the extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 complications.
  • Expanded Use of Telehealth
  • Continued routine and non-routine assessments
  • Care plans modified on an individual basis to accommodate long-term closure of day centers, offering additional services where necessary to prevent decline
  • Increased communication and coordination with the Senior LIFE network of providers regarding their policies during the Covid-19 pandemic.

LIFE/PACE organizations serve approximately 1 in 10 of those that could benefit from their care in their communities; of the 2.2M lower-income older adults estimated to need long-term services and support (LTSS), PACE organizations serve just 2.5% approximately.

LIFE/PACE was proven safer and more cost-effective even prior to the pandemic:

  • LIFE/PACE employs strong financial incentives for PACE organizations to avoid duplicative or unnecessary services while encouraging the use of appropriate community-based alternatives to hospital and nursing home care. Care decisions are provider-led through the interdisciplinary team in consultation with the participant and his or her family. This construct empowers the PACE model of care to achieve better care and patient experience, better population health and lower costs.
  • Lower out-of-pocket costs for participants with no Medicare or Medicaid deductibles or copayment
  • Better care leads to lower costs
    • 13% lower cost for state Medicaid programs
    • Comparable Medicare costs
    • Reduced Hospital Admission-: 24% lower hospitalization rate than dually eligible beneficiaries who receive Medicaid nursing home services
    • Decreased Rehospitalization-: 16% less than the national rehospitalization rate of 22.9% for dually eligible beneficiaries age 65 and over.
    • Reduced ER Visits: Less than one emergency room visit per member per year.
    • Fewer Nursing Home Admissions: Despite being at nursing home level of care, LIFE/PACE participants have a low risk of being admitted to a nursing home.
    • LIFE/PACE participants have fewer unmet needs and receive better preventive care, specifically with respect to hearing and vision screenings, and the flu.
  • LIFE/PACE incorporates many of the reforms the Medicare program seeks to promote, including person-centered care, delivered and coordinated by a provider based, comprehensive system, with financial incentives aligned to promote quality and cost effectiveness through capitated financing
  • LIFE/PACE provides care to older Americans in their preferred environment— home; 86 percent of those 65 and older surveyed either strongly or somewhat agreed that they want to remain in their current home for as long as they can according to AARP
  • LIFE/PACE and other alternatives to nursing homes will be in great demand to meet the needs of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and others in the coming years.

 

Senior LIFE Community Update | December 2020

Dear Members and Family Caregivers,

This letter is to update you on the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the Senior LIFE program. The PA Office of Long-Term Living, at the direction of the Governor, ordered all programs like ours to close the day care portion of their programs for an indefinite period. 

To assure that our participants stay as healthy and as functional as possible during this time, we have taken the following actions.

  • We have adopted CDC and CMS guidelines for COVID19 including screening for participants and staff and precautions to prevent transmission;
  • We will continue to provide care throughout clinics and in the home, using recommended screening and precautions;
  • We will make sure you continue to receive medications
  • We will continue routine and non-routine assessments, including if you request new or increased services, unless you object;
  • We will be modifying care plans on an individual basis for longer-term closure of the day centers, offering additional services where necessary to prevent decline;
  • We have communication and coordinated with our network nursing homes regarding their screening, admissions and visitation policies and are reaching out to other providers (dental, behavioral health, etc.) to do the same

We have developed plans to handle suspected and confirmed cases and if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat please contact your Senior LIFE nurse or physician at your center.

If you have any questions or needs that are not medical, please contact your social worker and they will get an answer for you.


Senior Life Reopening Plan | July 2020

Dear Senior Life Members / Family,

As the region transitions toward a new normal and our area begins to reopen, the Senior LIFE team is doing everything that we can to ensure a quick, easy return for our members. We want to assure you that the health and safety of our members and staff are our top priorities, and we are doing everything that we can to build the best possible experience for all of our members.  

In this letter, you will find a plan for the reopening of our centers and an outline for operational changes. Every step that we are taking is in line with federal and state guidelines – including recommendations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control. If you have any questions, please contact me or your social worker.

These are unusual times, but by working together, we are certain that the Senior LIFE community can overcome these obstacles and move forward. We dearly miss all of our members, and we cannot wait to welcome you back into the center!

Sincerely,

Executive Director

 

Reopening

Currently, we hope to reopen the Senior LIFE centers in June 2020. Unfortunately, though, in order to maintain social distancing requirements, only a limited number of members will be allowed in the center at one time.

Visits to the center will be limited, but our inter-disciplinary team (IDT) of medical professionals is working with federal and state guidance to build a plan, which ensures that all members will have appropriate and necessary access. As soon as possible, an IDT staff member will be reaching out to you regarding your individual center attendance. If you have any questions about your schedule or feel that you have an urgent need which requires assistance, you can contact any member of the IDT at any time.

In the meantime, IDT staff will continue to monitor and address all members’ statuses through telephone encounters, home visits, and necessary visits to the clinic or therapy, as has been occurring since services were modified in March 2020.  An on-call nurse and primary care provider will also continue to be available at all times to address any needs that arise.

New Transportation Guidelines

For those who use scheduled transportation, all members will be screened for exposure to COVID-19 before boarding the vehicle. This process includes a temperature check and a few, simple questions about COVID-19 symptoms, travel history, and potential contact with the virus. Members who have a temperature above 100.4° F or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 will be required to remain at home.

For those who do not use scheduled transportation, the screening process, including temperature checks and questions about COVID-19 symptoms, travel history, and possible exposure, will take place at the center’s designated screening area. Members who have a temperature above 100.4° F or who may have been exposed to covid-19 will be directed to a separate holding area, and arrangements will be made for them to depart the center safely.

In order to ensure social distancing during transportation, fewer members will be in the vehicle at one time, and members will be seated based on social distancing guidelines.

Vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected routinely according to guidelines, with special attention to frequently touched surfaces. All transportation staff, including drivers, will be wearing PPE, including gloves and a mask.

Masks will be provided to any member who would like one, although they will not be required.

New Center Guidelines

In order to ensure social distancing in the dayroom, only one member will be seated at each table. All activity programming and meal service will also be adapted for social distancing requirements.

Item sharing will be limited to the greatest extent possible.  Any items needed to be shared will be disinfected between each use.  

Please limit the number of personal belongings that you bring with you to the center. Any necessary personal items will be need to be disinfected before entering the center.

Centers will be cleaned and disinfected routinely according to guidelines, with special attention to frequently touched surfaces. Bathrooms will be cleaned between each use. All center staff will wear masks.

Masks will be provided to any member who would like one, although they will not be required.

Your Health

The most important thing that you can do is to stay at home if experiencing any symptoms of illness related to COVID-19 as stated in current Department of Health (DOH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.  These symptoms include fever and respiratory symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, fast breathing), diarrhea, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, or new loss of taste/smell.  

Please notify your Senior LIFE nurse immediately if you have any of these symptoms.  Additionally, if you or any of your family members test positive for COVID-19, Senior LIFE should be notified immediately, regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms.

We appreciate your continued communication, collaboration, and flexibility as we navigate these unprecedented challenges together. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have.

If you have any questions or needs that are not medical, please contact your social worker and they will get an answer for you.

 

March 27, 2020

Dear Members and Family Caregivers,

This letter is to update you on the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the Senior LIFE program. The PA Office of Long-Term Living, at the direction of the Governor, ordered all programs like ours to close the day care portion of their programs for an indefinite period. This may last for several weeks.

To assure that our participants stay as healthy and as functional as possible during this time, we have taken the following actions.

  • We have adopted CDC and CMS guidelines for COVID19 including screening for participants and staff and precautions to prevent transmission;
  • We will continue to provide care throughout clinics and in the home, using recommended screening and precautions;
  • We will make sure you continue to receive medications
  • We will continue routine and non-routine assessments, including if you request new or increased services, unless you object;
  • We will be modifying care plans on an individual basis for longer-term closure of the day centers, offering additional services where necessary to prevent decline;
  • We have communication and coordinated with our network nursing homes regarding their screening, admissions and visitation policies and are reaching out to other providers (dental, behavioral health, etc.) to do the same

We have developed plans to handle suspected and confirmed cases and if you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat please contact your Senior LIFE nurse or physician at your center.

If you have any questions or needs that are not medical, please contact your social worker and they will get an answer for you.

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    Last updated on February 8th, 2021 at 09:31 am