How Does LIFE Keep Me Healthier and Safer at Home as I Age?
The LIFE Pittsburgh model of care comes from PACE, a national program pioneered in the 1970’s. The idea was to keep people safe at home, rather than have frequent visits to the Emergency Room or wind up in a nursing home. The program was so successful, there are now over 80 such programs in the country.
Here’s how it works. Every participant has a team of people looking after him. This team includes a doctor who sees no more than 100 patients, as compared with traditional healthcare, where a doctor has an average of 2,000 patients. The team also includes registered nurses, master’s-level social workers, licensed physical and occupational therapists, personal care aids, registered dieticians, the center manager and others. This team meets every morning to discuss all participants in need.
The key ingredients of LIFE’s model of care are a) being proactive and b) coordinating/integrating care from different professional perspectives. The care team is what makes this possible.
A. Being Proactive
Every LIFE staff member is trained to notice any changes in participant’s health. For example, a driver notices that Miss Elizabeth is looking very tired today, or that Mr. Johnson’s speech is a little slurred. He then reports any indications to the team. As the team is meeting every morning, they immediately identify any actions to evaluate and treat health concerns.
B. Coordinating/Integrating Care
The benefit of the care team is the different perspectives. For example, suppose Miss Christine has a fall. The doctor will pursue medical reasons why she fell; the dietician will try to figure out if her fall was due to dietary issues; the physical therapist will work on her balance issues; and so on. This is the magical thing about the LIFE Pittsburgh healthcare model. Coordinating and integrating the knowledge of the whole team allows for a remarkable improvement in the level of care.
Coordinating and Integrating Care Makes the Difference!