McGregor PACE provides all-around care to help seniors stay at home
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. McGregor PACE remains the only PACE program in the state of Ohio.
The following is a question-and-answer session based on an interview with Lana DiCesare, McGregor PACE’s Clinical Services Officer. Her responses have been edited for length and clarity.
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 at McGregor Gardens, our main campus, where I obtained considerable knowledge about what PACE does and how it allows people to stay home. I 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 provide all-around care, namely 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 and remain in their neighborhoods.
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 access to healthcare providers and nurses. I do not know of any other program that offers 24/7 access like this.
We provide home care. We can make appointments for them and accompany them to these appointments. We also provide a day center, where they can spend eight hours a day, five days a week, including meals and a robust activity program. 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 provide all services, and more than a nursing home can provide, but we focus on supporting 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, 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 (10) full-time healthcare providers, including 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. Each one of our social workers has a Master’s Level 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 become part of their family, and they become part of our family.
Additionally, we provide equipment, meals, medications, and more to participants. It’s all included for those who are enrolled in PACE without additional payments. It is a comprehensive program with no co-payments for anything. It is 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 years of age or older. They also must 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. We have bilingual staff members who speak English, Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian. 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 throughout the full 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 decide 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. We require that they are involved in the enrollment process; however, 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 is so much more to this program than people realize. What we talked about is just the tip of the iceberg of 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.
For More Information:
Live at Home with McGregor PACE. Your Goal. Our Priority!
888-895-PACE (7223) mcgregorpace.org