business profile: PACE’s mission continues despite COVID-19

By Anthony Welch

COVID-19 has altered how Rocky Mountain PACE services seniors, but the organization has found a way to stick to its mission of helping seniors stay independent.

“We’re doing everything to keep them in their home with an abundance of caution to minimize their exposure,” PACE Director of Marketing and Community Engagement Summer Galceran said.

While the day center is closed, PACE continues to cook up and package meals that are delivered to seniors. PACE staff  has continued offering in-home services and medical care as well. Along with that, staff members call seniors in the program twice a week just to chat and let seniors know they’re there for them.

“We were the first day center in the nation to close. On March 11, we made that decision to make sure our seniors were safe,” Galceran added. “This was before New York even closed anything. We won’t probably open until they’re closer to a vaccine or the rates are so low that it will make sense.”

Rocky Mountain Healthcare Services facilitates the nonprofit PACE program, which is short for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The program was created in 2008. Its mission is to provide all-inclusive care to seniors 55 and older.

“We want seniors to be independent and stay independent as long as possible,” PACE Community Relations and Marketing Representative Carolyn Wilson said. “We provide the services they need to stay healthy and independent.”

Those services include four categories – social, support, wellness and medical. Social includes access to the adult day/health center, recreational activities and educational classes. Support includes transportation services, case management to coordinate services, home health care, personal care and laundry services and respite care. Wellness covers nutritious meals and snacks, homemaker services, recreation therapy, counseling, home health care, medication management and physical therapy. The medical category includes physical and occupational therapy; emergency, hospital and nursing home care when needed; all necessary prescription drugs with no co-pay; medical specialists; medical clinic with physicians and nurses specializing in older adults and skilled home health care.

All-inclusive sometimes means helping with tasks not necessarily in those categories, according to Galceran.

“There’s no other program of its kind that’s out there,” she said. “It’s an all-inclusive program. If that means we have to clean up your dog because its fleas are bothering you, we’ll do it.”

“We have staff that will go out and analyze their living area and make sure (seniors) have what they need in order to be safe in their own home,” Wilson added. “Our maintenance team makes sure there are safety rails.”

While COVID-19 has the day center closed, that doesn’t mean PACE doesn’t have ways to keep seniors active. The organization has posted a variety of videos seniors can access. They include everything from exercises and yoga to crafting, recipes, trivia and sing-along videos. They can be found under the “COVID-19 Support” tab under the Rocky Mountain PACE heading on the website.

PACE’s transportation fleet is hitting the streets delivering meal packages to seniors. The fleet also transports seniors to and from the PACE medical clinic, or other specialists, when needed.

“People still need assistance. People still need medical assistance,” Galceran added. “They’re just not getting that day center activity.”

Rocky Mountain PACE can enroll individuals who meet the following eligibility requirements:
– At least 55 years old
– Living in our PACE service area
– Certified by the State of Colorado as needing nursing home-level care
– Able to live safely in the community with PACE services at the time of enrollment.

When someone wants to enroll, PACE sends out an intake specialist to their home to help them with the application.

“So they don’t feel like it’s a daunting task,” Wilson added. “They just have to call. We’ll take care of everything.”

For more on PACE, visit http://www.rmhcare.org/programs/rocky-mountain-pace or call 719-314-2327.

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