PACE Program Helps Seniors Stay at Home

July 25, 2008
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A recent article in the Daily Press addressed the Riverside Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly or PACE. The Riverside program is based in Newport News and will serve seniors on the Peninsula. Sentara Healthcare has operated PACE in Virginia Beach for several years. Funding for the program comes from Medicaid and Medicare. The Riverside PACE has 50 seniors enrolled as of May, with the current capacity of 150 expected to expand to 300. PACE allows seniors to remain in their homes, while receiving their medical care through the program center. The PACE center is part senior community center and part medical clinic.
To qualify for the Riverside program, one must live in Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson or lower York County, be 55 years of age or older, and qualify for nursing-home level of care. Because PACE will coordinate and provide medical care, the applicants must switch to the PACE healthcare providers. During the week, buses pick up PACE participants from their homes and transport them to the PACE center for a full day of meals, physical exercise and socialization, then the buses return the participants to their homes. If they need medical attention, then the clinic at the PACE center is available for immediate care. Transportation is provided to and from the PACE center for appointments with specialists. The PACE center building is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, but telephone lines are staffed 24 hours a day if participants need assistance after hours.
The center offers activities that promote mobility and cognitive skills, prescription management, personal grooming, and chaplain services. The center plans to add other services including a hairstylist, dentist, voice-activated device to capture memoirs, and small-group interaction for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
PACE benefits seniors by providing them with full medical care as well as activities and socialization, while permitting them to live at home with a spouse, family member or other caregivers, rather than in a facility. The program also helps families by giving them a break from caregiving during the day, with the reassurance that their seniors are safe and well-cared for. Oast & Hook has had several clients enrolled in the Sentara PACE, and the clients have been pleased with the results.
The attorneys at Oast & Hook can assist clients and their families with their long-term care planning, including planning and enrollment for PACE. Oast & Hook can also assist clients and their families with asset protection planning, estate planning, insurance and financial planning needs.

Ask Allie

Kit Kat: Allie, vacation time has arrived. When people are planning their vacations, what arrangements should they make for their pets’ care?
Allie: Good question, Kit Kat. If people have dogs and do not take them on the vacation, then they can board them at a facility or keep them at home. More and more facilities are becoming “dog resorts” with lots of amenities. If dogs stay at home, then you should have someone come in several times a day to make sure there is enough food and water, and to walk the dog. Friends, neighbors, and pet-sitting services can provide this help. People think that cats are independent, and that we can just be left home with food and water for several days, and that we will be OK. For some cats, this may work just fine. Other cats may need more attention, particularly if they are on a special diet or need medication. Some cats may not like being alone for long stretches of time, so cat sitters can be a good idea. For example, Oast & Hook attorney Sandra Smith’s cat sitter stops by twice a day to check the food, water, litter box, play with Crissy the cat, and spend some extra time with her. The cat sitter also has permission to take Crissy to the vet if there is an emergency. This arrangement gives Ms. Smith peace of mind when she is away from home. Someone always comes by and visits with me on the days the office is closed. The important thing to remember is to make sure that you plan for your pets when you plan for your vacation. I’ll talk about taking your pet on vacation with you in a future column.
Please feel free to e-mail your pet and animal-related questions to Allie at:allie@oasthook.com .

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