Louisiana’s efforts to improve the quality of care for aging and elderly citizens took another step forward on August 1, 2008 with the opening of a second location offering PACE services.  PACE, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, offers seniors a variety of services to address medical, social and personal care needs.  The Baton Rouge program is made possible by a three-way partnership between the Department of Health (DHH), Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

PACE offers flexibility in providing the medical and support services necessary for a senior citizen to maintain independence in their home for as long as possible.  The program provides needed preventive, primary, acute and long-term care services so that older individuals can continue living in their community.  Many services are delivered in an adult day health center, which offers a place for seniors to go during the day for medical care, occupational therapies and companionship.

Without these services, seniors may be less likely to receive attention for chronic conditions.  This can result in deteriorating health, an increased use of hospitals and emergency rooms and, ultimately, a need for care in an institutional setting.

Transportation is provided to and from the PACE centers, which are open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The centers have doctors, nurse practitioners and registered nurses on staff and in-home care can also be arranged if needed.

The new PACE site opened its doors to clients on the morning of August 1, though the center has been accepting enrollments since July 1.  The center is currently operating out of the St. Francis House Adult Day Care Center on Silverside Drive while a new facility is under construction.  The new building is expected to open at its Bishop Ott Drive location in November.

“The PACE model of care is shown to be one of the most effective options to help our seniors maintain self-sufficiency while still being able to receive the care they require,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine.  “The emphasis is on enabling participants to remain in their community and enhancing their quality of life.” 

The first PACE site opened in New Orleans in September, 2007.  The program has a further expansion planned for the Monroe area slated for early next year.

“The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, and particularly Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, has a long history of leadership in providing care for the elderly,” said Karen Allen, executive director of PACE Baton Rouge. “PACE is an innovative model of comprehensive care that expands the programs we have historically offered to those most in need. We are excited about the opportunity to work collaboratively with LDH and CMS to make this new approach a reality in Baton Rouge and in other Louisiana communities.”

For more information on PACE, call (225) 765-6497 or click here.