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Nurse coordinator

National Nurse’s Month Profile – Ashley Boyden

Ashley Boyden was featured recently in our dog rescue video displaying the WelbeHealth values, specifically showcasing her pioneering spirit.  Ashley comes to the WelbeHealth family after working in skilled nursing as well as performing case management for workman’s comp.  She now works as an LVN – Care Coordinator, in our Stockton PACE center, helping provide comprehensive care to seniors so they can continue to live more independently in their homes and communities.

Ashley always wanted to be a nurse, crediting her inspiration from her grandmother.  “My grandmother was a nurse in the same hospital for 45 years,“ she stated. “As a child I used to go with her when she was on call and wait in the nurse’s lounge.”  Given her determination to go above and beyond to help serve her senior participants, it’s no surprise that making a difference in her patient’s lives was her motivation for joining the WelbeHealth. “I love being a part of the difference. Knowing that what we at WelbeHealth do each day changes lives is inspiring,” she added.  Her determination and desire to make a difference is reinforced in her advice to her younger self: “Stay the course. Don’t get discouraged. You WILL make a difference!”

To learn more about the PACE services that Ashley helps provide to help seniors live more independently in their homes and communities, click here.

Memorial Day 2020 Park Safety Tips

Memorial Day 2020 will be very unique this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which should be no surprise to anyone.  Various local governments are opening up parks and recreational facilities to varying degrees and many seniors will be out and about enjoying the holiday.  The CDC has provided guidelines for attending parks and recreational facilities.  To help our seniors continue to safely live more independent lives in their homes and communities and as a resource to combat senior isolation, we are providing those guidelines here.

Visiting Parks and Recreational Facilities

Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19

Know before you go: While these facilities and areas can offer health benefits, it is important that you follow the steps below to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

DO

  •  Visit parks that are close to your home
  •  Prepare before you visit
  •  Stay at least 6 feet away from others (“social distancing”) and take other steps to prevent COVID-19
  •  Play it safe around and in swimming pools. Keep space between yourself and others
DON’T
  •  Visit parks if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19
  •  Visit crowded parks
  •  Use playgrounds
  •  Participate in organized activities or sports

To learn about the services our PACE program provides, click here.

Nurse coordinator

National Nurse’s Month Profile – D’juana Hale

D’juana Hale always wanted to be a doctor growing up, saying that her pediatrician was her inspiration.  Today, she is in the medical field working as an LVN/Nightly Navigator for our Stockton PACE location, helping support our senior participants as they strive to live more independent lives in their homes and communities.  She says the secret for delivering compassionate, comprehensive care to the elderly is easy, “I just love what I do, so it makes it easy!”.  D’juana has a simple, but inspiring message she would tell her younger self, “Continue striving for greatness!”.  That’s a message that we can all get behind.

For more information about the PACE services D’juana helps support, click here.

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.

Nurse coordinator

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.

Caregiving for elders

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.

Nurse coordinator

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.

Offering support to elderly.

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.

By Si France, MD, Founder + CEO, WelbeHealth

(This article was published on Medium.com)

May 4, 2020 – 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.

Unfortunately, these challenges aren’t likely to go away any time soon. Though some states have already begun to relax social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders, frail seniors will remain at extremely high risk. Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when distancing measures were loosened after the first wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, many cities saw long second waves of deaths in the months that followed. Our most hopeful projections show that the development, testing, and mass distribution of a coronavirus vaccine could take 12–18 months, though even that would be an extraordinarily short timeframe. Some scientists are now suggesting that Covid-19 will never be eradicated, returning in regular waves like the flu. Recent developments in antivirals and neutralizing antibodies provide some cause for optimism and could give us superior treatment options to reduce mortality rates.

Regardless of what the future holds, the devastation of this virus should force us to reevaluate the safest and most effective ways to provide high levels of care for the seniors in our community.

Considering the risk of outbreaks in nursing facilities, what are families to do for their loved ones who need high levels of care? While some may be able to care for elders in their homes, the vast majority cannot. Nursing home-eligible seniors typically need assistance with one or more activities of daily living, such as eating and preparing meals, bathing and grooming, or managing medications — a burden too great for many families to manage without additional support.

Rethinking senior care in the age of Covid-19

Suppose you could design a way to care for frail seniors in the time of coronavirus. What would the ideal model look like? For one, it would need to provide a high level of comprehensive care. Not just medicine, but support for seniors’ daily living activities, physical and occupational therapy, medication management, and more. It would also need to be covered by Medicare and Medicaid insurance, as nearly two-thirds of nursing home residents are supported primarily by Medicaid. Most importantly in our current environment, it would need to help seniors remain in their homes, avoiding the congregate living arrangements conducive to the rapid spread of viral outbreaks.

This model already exists, and thousands of nursing home-eligible seniors around the country are thriving in it.

It’s called the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), and I believe it will revolutionize the way we care for the most vulnerable members of our communities.

PACE was pioneered in the 1970s by On Lok, a community health organization in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood, to provide support services to enable seniors to continue living in their homes rather than in an institutional care setting. Over time, it’s evolved into a comprehensive, fully integrated medical and social care model, funded by Medicare and Medicaid in 31 states around the country. The fundamental philosophy of PACE is that it is better for seniors and their families to be served in the community whenever possible. Though all PACE participants are eligible for nursing homes, 95 percent live at home.

The programs are both health plan and care provider, enabling a comprehensive approach to managing seniors’ care. An interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals actively monitor care plans and respond to changes in participants’ health. And PACE provides far more than just medical care, supporting seniors and their families with meals, transportation to appointments, social activities, and personal care services.

The evidence for PACE is overwhelming. The program has a long track record of positive outcomes, including longer life expectancy, improved quality of life, reduced rates of depression and dementia, and enhanced personal empowerment for seniors. According to a survey by the National PACE Association, 97.5 percent of family caregivers would recommend the program to someone in a similar situation. PACE even saves taxpayers money, reducing government healthcare spending by $10,000 per participant.

Research shows that PACE lengthens life and improves quality of life for nursing home-eligible seniors

PACE is also extremely well-positioned to address the growing crisis of social isolation in our senior communities. As the New York Times recently reported, social isolation and loneliness are major risk factors not only to seniors’ emotional health but their physical health as well. Isolation is associated with higher rates of heart disease and stroke and a 50 percent increased risk of dementia, with isolated seniors suffering “a mortality rate comparable to that linked to smoking, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.”

The pandemic has made it even more difficult for seniors to meet their social needs, with senior centers, day programs, and other public spaces closed. Many nursing homes have even barred all family members from visiting their loved ones. PACE can be the answer to this crisis, enabling seniors to remain home while still receiving exceptional medical care and socialization and activities.

In the time of Covid-19, it’s clear to me that PACE delivered safely in the home with social engagement is the single best option for seniors to stay healthy, active, and engaged while also more protected from the virus.

Like just about everyone these days, our programs have had to adapt during the pandemic. Historically, the PACE model has been centered around a day center, where participants receive medical treatments and physical therapy, socialize with friends and caregivers, and enjoy meals and activities. We’ve transitioned rapidly to deliver care and services remotely, to participants in their own homes.

We’ve rapidly adjusted the way we deliver care, closing our day centers until it’s safe to reopen and launching a remote care model to serve participants in their homes

At WelbeHealth, our PACE programs around California have shifted to a new model of care we’re calling HomePACE, delivering the same suite of services without the physical day center. We started by deploying 4G LTE “WelbeLink” tablets to participants’ homes. Our care teams use the devices to maintain regular video communications with seniors, making hundreds of calls per day to manage medical needs and complete social and behavioral health check-ins.

To contain the spread of the virus, we’ve moved our entire clinical and administrative team to a work-from-home model, never having two team members in the same room unless absolutely necessary for patient care. When in-person medical care is required, it’s done by a single caregiver in the home whenever possible, minimizing potential exposures to Covid-19. Our teams are also completing regular deliveries of medical supplies and meals to participants who need them, and we’re even resuming many of our usual games and social activities remotely via video.

Other PACE programs around the country are also innovating to continue serving seniors during this time. PACE Southeast Michigan partnered with a local grocer to deliver essential care packages of fresh food to participants each morning. LIFE Senior Services in Oklahoma hosted a drive-thru breakfast for its members. Care Resources PACE in Michigan secured a grant to launch telehealth services for its participants. CHA PACE in Massachusetts partnered with a local paramedic firm to provide 24/7 in-home care for Covid-positive patients. PACE programs in North Carolina helped seniors access live streams of religious services. From the beginning, PACE has been built around nimble and creative solutions to meet seniors’ needs, so it’s no surprise that so many programs across the country have been able to adapt to care for their participants.

Despite its long track record of success, PACE still has a massive opportunity for growth. Even in the healthcare community, many physicians and medical professionals are just learning about the program for the first time. PACE serves just over 50,000 seniors today, but the estimated eligible population is much larger: 2 million or more. Recent regulatory changes have begun to enable programs to grow more quickly and efficiently, and demand is growing as more seniors and families learn about the program.

For those of us who know PACE already, the case is clear. It’s the model of care I’d want for myself as a physician and for my senior family members.

Years from now, when we reflect on Covid-19, we’ll remember all the challenges we faced and the tragic loss of so many lives. I hope, though, that we’ll also be able to appreciate one bright spot: a turning point in the way we think about caring for the most vulnerable people in our communities. In the face of this pandemic, it’s more apparent to me than ever before that PACE has the potential to become the “gold standard” of care for frail seniors across our country.

….read more.

For more on WelbeHealth services that safely provide comprehensive care for seniors so that they can live more independently, click here.

Nurse coordinator

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.