Where to Receive Long Term Elderly Care Without a Nursing Home
By Cynthia Flash*
What if your loved one qualifies to be in a nursing home, but she wants to stay in her current residence? Providence ElderPlace could be the answer. Read Sang Ho’s story here, and see how this program could work for you or your loved one as well.
Sang Ho finally made it to the United States as a refugee in 2000, 25 years after fighting for the South Vietnamese during the Vietnamese war. The lifelong bachelor eventually ended up at Providence Peter Claver House in South Seattle, where he enjoys life with many other Vietnamese residents. Now age 79, he still carries photos of his parents in his wallet and enjoys staying informed by watching the news on TV and reading Vietnamese newspapers.
“I am old. I have many diseases,” Ho said in English that he has worked to perfect in the 15 years he’s been in the United States. To keep himself healthy, active, and in his own home, Ho enrolled with Providence ElderPlace, a healthcare and social service program that serves seniors, many who are so sick or frail they would qualify to live in a nursing home.
Serving the Elderly in Your Community
This year Providence ElderPlace celebrates 21 years of serving this population. It’s main center is located in the Rainier Vista complex on Martin Luther King Jr. Way South. It has another stand-alone center in West Seattle and one in Kent and two more that serve residents inside two assisted living facilities. Operated by Providence Health & Services, Providence ElderPlace has grown to serve more than 500 participants. Each receives wrap-around services that keep them healthy and in the community, whether that’s in their homes alone, with family, in an adult family home, or assisted living facility. Providence ElderPlace provides them with all of their medical care, adult day health and social services, transportation to the Providence ElderPlace centers, and in some cases even covers housing. Many participants have multiple chronic diseases and 85 percent qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid.
Ho, a Providence ElderPlace participant since 2013, comes to the center once a week for exercise class, lunch, and to see his doctors when necessary. “It’s a good program,” said Ho, who has high blood pressure and arthritis. The program, with its on-site medical team, has helped him to stay healthy.
Because Providence is paid a monthly rate per participant, the program is incentivized to keep its participants as healthy as possible by closely monitoring their health, their medications and their well-being to keep them out of the hospital and the nursing home.
Far reaching benefits of Providence ElderPlace
Not only does Providence ElderPlace keep its participants living in the community and saves the government money, its outcomes are impressive. At a time when healthcare systems are penalized for hospital re-admissions, Providence ElderPlace’s numbers outperform the average population in many areas:
- While the hospital re-admission rate for the general Medicare population is 20 percent over a 30-day period, it’s under 10 percent for Providence ElderPlace.
- Mortality of those needing help with more than six activities of daily living (ADLs) for the general Medicare population is 28 percent, compared to 16 percent for Providence ElderPlace participants.
- While 54 to 66 percent of Medicare patients die in a hospital or nursing facility, only 14 percent of Providence ElderPlace patients do.
- While only 10 to 30 percent of Medicare patients have an advanced directive or Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), 96 percent of Providence ElderPlace patients do.
“These numbers can be attributed to the intense managed care each participant receives,” said Susan Tuller, the program’s executive director. “We truly believe that if this program did not exist, a significant number of our participants would need nursing home care or would be at significant risk for hospitalization because they’re not in settings that provide all the care they need.”
A better quality of life…
Robert Hellrigel, chief executive of Providence Senior and Community Services, which oversees Providence ElderPlace, said many people come to the program as their lives are spiraling out of control. “They can’t manage their chronic conditions. They don’t understand their options. They fear going to a nursing home and don’t know where to turn. Providence ElderPlace wraps you up in this big warm blanket and says `you’re covered, we’re going to get your symptoms under control.'”
Providence ElderPlace is part of the national Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), started in 1990 to provide the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic care needs while maintaining their independence in their home for as long as possible. Providence expects to expand the program in the future and is seeing younger participants with different healthcare problems including multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury from a stroke or accident, and those who are developmentally delayed and aging out of the system that previously served them.
Dr. Assad Kazemi, who has been the Providence ElderPlace medical director nearly since the program’s inception, said he often hears his patients and their families tell him how much Providence ElderPlace has helped. “They say, `now I have a life of my own. I can focus on my kids and grandchildren because I know you’re looking after me.'”
*Cynthia Flash owns Flash Media Services, a public relations firm. Providence ElderPlace is one of her clients. Learn more about Providence ElderPlace.
Program provides free healthcare services for low-income adults in King County.
Providence ElderPlace offers a complete set of free healthcare services for elderly on Medicaid and Medicare.