KQED’s ‘Radio News’ Profiles ‘Model’ Home Care Program for Frail Elderly
KQED's "Radio News" yesterday profiled the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, a federal-state program that allows the frail elderly to reside in their homes rather than in nursing homes, which could be affected by health care funding cuts, including Gov. Gray Davis' (D) proposed 15% cut in state funding for senior health. KQED reports that PACE serves approximately 2,000 seniors in fewer than 20 centers statewide and is considered a model for providing long-term care. Surveys show that PACE participants stay healthy longer and spend less time in hospitals than nursing home residents, according to KQED. The program "makes things simple" with "no exceptions, limits or forms to fill" and provides participants with prescription drugs, physician visits and hospital care, as well as equipment such as glasses, hearing aids and home safety ramps, KQED reports. Janet Tedesco, administrator for the Sacramento PACE program at the Sutter Senior Care Center, said the key to the program is that those involved -- including physicians -- help make decisions about individuals' care plans. Carol Freels, acting head of the Office of Long-Term Care, said that although PACE is considered by some to be the "gold standard" for long-term care, the program is "so specialized" that it will not be able to "scale up easily" to accommodate significant increases in the frail elderly. According to KQED, the number of California residents older than age 65 will double by 2020 and the number older than 85 will triple over the same period. In addition, although the program costs 5% to 15% less than a comparable nursing home -- which costs approximately $3,900 per month per person -- the program's "stress on individual needs" requires almost as many staff as participants (Creedman, "Radio News," KQED, 6/4). The full segment is available online in RealPlayer.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.