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COVID Demonstrates PACE Model Safer, More Effective than Nursing Home Care

Feb 09, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), such as St. Bernards Total Life Healthcare, have proven safer and more effective than nursing home care.

According to the National PACE Association (NPA), the rate of COVID cases and COVID-related deaths among PACE participants versus nursing home residents fell by one-third, all while keeping participants both at home and in the community. In response to COVID-19, PACE programs have transformed to continue meeting all participants’ care and service needs by:

  • Maintaining existing home-based services for participants.
  • Shifting most center-based services into participants’ homes to minimize the risk of infection.
  • Expanding the use of telehealth, including daily calls from staff members.
  • Redeploying center-based staff.
  • Providing transportation to all physician appointments.
  • Providing social supports and socialization opportunities.

What is PACE?

PACE is a wholly integrated, coordinated, person-centered, provider-led, capitated and fully risk-bearing model of care. Driven by the objective of maintaining the independence of program participants in their homes and communities for as long as possible, PACE programs are the lifelines that enable older Americans to live at home instead of a nursing facility. In fact, 95 percent of participants live safely in the community.

In the United States, 137 organizations operate PACE programs across 31 states. More than 55,000 people are enrolled in PACE. Enrollees are aged 55 and older and meet their state definition of needing nursing home care.

In Arkansas, three PACE organizations serve older populations, with St. Bernards Total Life Healthcare reaching the state’s northeast region.