Senior Isolation – Interview with Debbie Sanchez

Radio Centro America conducted an interview with our own Debbie Sanchez, an Outreach Specialist for our Pacific PACE program in Pasadena.  She discussed the challenges of senior isolation during this global coronavirus pandemic and how WelbeHealth and Pacific PACE have made changes to safely deliver the health and wellness senior care to frail elderly in our service areas, allowing them to continue living more independent lives in their homes and communities.  Click here to watch the interview in Spanish.

For more about the services that PACE provides to help promote senior independence, click here.

Coronavirus has ravaged nursing homes. For many seniors, there’s a safer option.

PACE keeps frail seniors healthy, socially engaged, and thriving, even in these unprecedented times.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc and claim lives across the country, many seniors and their families have grown nervous about the potential for outbreaks in nursing homes. Housing about 1.4 million Americans, nursing facilities are a major component of our country’s senior care infrastructure and are facing increasing scrutiny as hotbeds for the spread of the virus. In late April, California reported that nearly 40 percent of the state’s coronavirus-related deaths had occurred in the facilities, with a Los Angeles Times analysis finding that the actual figure could be even higher.

Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are already at high risk, with reports of over 20 percent morbidity for patients ages 80 and older. With the added risk of congregate living in close quarters, nursing homes have become some of the earliest sites of coronavirus outbreaks.

That’s not to say that nursing home operators are to blame for this situation. Even the most comprehensive infection control policies and procedures may not be able to fully contain the virus when the nature of the facilities’ design is so high-risk. In one of his recent daily briefings, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo described housing “vulnerable people in one place” as a “feeding frenzy” for coronavirus. Acknowledging the high risk, at least six states have now gone so far as to grant nursing facilities explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits…..read more.

For more on the PACE services that safely provide comprehensive care for seniors, click here.

How to properly wash your hands

The CDC has provided guidance on how to properly wash your hands.  During the current coronavirus pandemic, knowing the proper technique has never been more important.

Key Times to Wash Hands

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also clean hands:

  • After you have been in a public place and touched an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens, etc.
  • Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that’s how germs enter our bodies.

Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way

Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.

Follow these five steps every time.

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Our own Nurse Cheryl demonstrates these techniques in the video below:

To see what PACE services we provide to safely keeping seniors living in their homes and communities, click here.

WelbeHealth Expands PACE into Long Beach and Fresno

WelbeHealth, operator of PACE programs across California, announced the enrollment of its first participants at LA Coast PACE in Long Beach and the upcoming launch of its fourth program, Sequoia PACE, in Fresno. The company has rapidly shifted to a remote home care model to serve seniors safely during the Covid-19 pandemic and continues to enroll new participants in its service areas across California.

PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a longstanding Medicare and Medicaid program that provides comprehensive medical and social services enabling older adults to live in the community instead of a nursing home or other care facility. The program has a long track record of positive outcomes, including longer life expectancy (by more than one year), improved quality of life, reduced rates of depression and dementia, and enhanced personal empowerment for seniors. PACE services are available at no cost to most participants as part of their Medicare and Medi-Cal benefits.

“In our HomePACE model of remote care, we help seniors stay healthy and thriving while avoiding nursing facilities, which have tragically become hotbeds for the spread of coronavirus,” said Si France, MD, Founder and CEO of WelbeHealth. “We’re excited to expand our all-inclusive model of care into the greater Long Beach and Fresno regions to serve more vulnerable seniors when they need it most.”

LA Coast PACE’s first participants will enroll with the program on June 1, receiving comprehensive home-based medical care, dental care, physical and occupational therapy, and personal care such as assistance with bathing and meals. The program serves nursing home-eligible seniors across the South Bay and Westside region, including in Long Beach, Artesia, Cerritos, Carson, Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo, Culver City, and other nearby communities.

Sequoia PACE, WelbeHealth’s fourth PACE program, will open later this year to serve seniors in Fresno, Kings, Madera, and Tulare Counties, including in Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Hanford, Tulare, and surrounding cities.

“There has never been a stronger imperative to keep frail seniors living more independently in their homes and communities,” said Sophia Guel-Valenzuela, Regional Vice President & Executive Director of LA Coast PACE. “We’re eager to help more seniors reach their full potential and live with confidence, purpose, and joy.”

WelbeHealth has rapidly adapted to serve seniors during the Covid-19 pandemic, shifting to a remote home-based model to continue providing care while enabling participants to stay physically distanced to reduce the spread of the virus. The company’s PACE programs provide 4G LTE “WelbeLink” tablets to each senior, enabling regular video communications to manage medical and social needs. When in-person care is required, it’s performed by a single caregiver in the home whenever possible. The programs have even continued many of their usual games and recreational activities remotely, combatting the dangerous social isolation affecting many seniors today.

Older adults and people with underlying medical conditions are at particularly high risk during the coronavirus pandemic, underscoring the benefits of a home-based care model. According to the National PACE Association, the average PACE participant in the U.S. is 77 years old with 8 medical conditions, many of which are chronic conditions such as diabetes, dementia, coronary artery disease, and cerebrovascular disease. PACE serves as an alternative to nursing homes as reports emerge that nearly 40 percent of California’s coronavirus deaths have occurred in the facilities.

In addition to LA Coast PACE and Sequoia PACE, WelbeHealth also operates Stockton PACE in the Stockton-Modesto region and Pacific PACE, which serves Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, North Hollywood, and surrounding areas. The company continues to hire new team members at each of its programs across clinical and home health roles to meet community health needs.

For more about the seniorcare services that our PACE program provides, click here.

National Nurse’s Month Profile – Ivette Zoltzman

Ivette Zoltzman comes to the WelbeHealth family from UCLA, where she worked in the outpatient clinic working on wound care patients, a job she loved.  She now works as a Home Care RN, working for our Pacific PACE center in Pasadena.  She joined the WelbeHealth team because she really wanted to make a difference in her patients’ lives.  “Even if I made one person happy or touched their lives one way or another, I know I did my job right. As a nurse, I have the privilege of helping others when they are the most vulnerable,” she added.

Ivette had not originally planned on becoming a nurse but was persuaded by some sage advice from her father.  Growing up, she wanted to be a homicide detective because she loved to investigate clues, crimes and assessments, but her father told her no. “My father said to me you can do anything homicide related through nursing,” she explained. “Become a Registered Nurse and you will have so many opportunities open up for you. Even though I did not become a Forensic Nurse, I am glad I took my father’s advice.”

Her advice to her ten-year old self – “Start your nursing career as soon as you graduate from high school.  You will be able to travel the world.”

To learn more about the PACE services Ivette and our other nurses help provide, click here.

Addressing Senior Isolation: Radio Interview

Combating senior isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic and what WelbeHealth has done to combat this issue was the topic that Jillian Simon and Kristi Halva discussed this weekend in a radio interview.  The importance of combating senior isolation has become a growing issue during this time as the CDC recently reported on the links between isolation and disease on the senior population.  The steps we took not only helped provide a conduit for seniors to socialize with our staff and find entertaining ways to keep busy, but also allowed our staff to be able to provide the services our seniors needed to stay healthy and independently in a remote setting.

To learn more about the other seniorcare services PACE provides, click here.

National Women’s Health Week

It’s National Women’s Health Week!

We encourage all women to take charge of their health so they can live long, independent lives in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

Per CDC Guidelines, you can learn steps for better health.

To improve your physical and mental health, you can:

To learn what services we provide to improve our senior’s health, click here.

Updated Symptoms for COVID-19 from the CDC

The Center for Disease Control has updated the symptoms related to COVID-19.  People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.  Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

People with at least one of these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

If you are experiencing any combination of these symptoms, please contact your physician as soon as possible.

As a reminder:

  • The CDC has advised that older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions stay at home as much as possible. In addition, you should avoid participating in the following activities:  traveling by airplane, going to theaters, attending family events, shopping and going to religious ceremonies.  If you are enrolled in PACE, you fall into this category and are extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus, so you should please follow the CDC’s advice and remain sheltered at home and avoid leaving except for essential needs.
  • In the event that you need to go out in public, the CDC and Public Health recommend that the general public wear non-medical face coverings (e.g. cloth masks) when out in common spaces.

We know that there are a lot of news outlets that are providing conflicting information during this time. Our physicians are monitoring all of the guidance on an ongoing basis and are committed to ensuring that you all get the right information. PACE participants can have any specific questions at any time answered by contacting us via the WelbeLinks!

For more information on PACE services, click here.

National Nurse’s Month Profile – Thuy Pham

Thuy Pham is a Nurse Practitioner at WelbeHealth’s Stockton PACE center, which provides health and wellness care in the Stockton and surrounding areas to seniors, helping them live more independently in their homes and communities.  Thuy came to the WelbeHealth team after working as a hospice/palliative nurse practitioner.

Early on Thuy aspired to be a teacher or a caregiver when she grew up.  Her inspiration to become a nurse came due to a family illness.  “My father was really sick when I was a child. We spent a lot of time in the hospital. I was inspired by compassionate nurses and wanted to deliver the same quality care.”, she explained.  Her inspiration is demonstrated daily as she delivers compassionate care to local seniors who can live more independently with the help of Thuy and the rest of the Stockton PACE interdisciplinary care team.  When asked what motivated her each day to serve the community’s local seniors, she replied, “My desire to provide quality healthcare and the wonderful teammates I get to do it with!”

If Thuy could give advice to her younger self to meet the challenges in life, she said it would be “What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”

To learn more about PACE services, click here.

National Nurse’s Month Profile – Alyssa Triyoes

In honor of National Nurses Month, we will be featuring the amazing nurses who are an integral part of our interdisciplinary care team.

Alyssa Triyoes is Clinic RN at WelbeHealth’s LA Coast PACE center and prefers to go by Alice.  The soon to be launched LA Coast PACE center will serve seniors in Long Beach and the surrounding areas.  “I can’t wait for it to open” Alice said excitedly.

When she was younger, Alice aspired to be an architect, however a combination of her dad’s work ethic and mom’s selflessness and model on how to care made it clear to her that nursing would come more naturally than any other profession.  These traits serve her well in providing health and wellness care for seniors, helping them live more independently in their homes and communities.

Before joining the team at WelbeHealth, Alice was a nurse consultant for a community program that served adults with intellectual disabilities who lived in residential homes in Long Beach and the surrounding cities.

When asked what drives her to come to work each day, Alice stated her motivation was “knowing that there is a mission that is greater than myself, in addition to be working alongside amazing, passionate team members that I am beginning to learn how to work with.”

Knowing what she knows now, Alice said that if she could give one piece of advice to her ten year-old self, she would tell her that “life is full of fleeting moments both good and bad but both are meant to be shared and that we are truly never alone.”

To learn more about the services our nurses and the rest of our interdisciplinary care team provides our seniors, click here.