As the COVID-19 pandemic endures, most healthcare organizations have been stretched thin on financial and human resources. Healthcare institutions riddled with staffing shortfalls are nothing new. However, what they have experienced in the last couple of years is unprecedented. The PACE (Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) model of care has proven its agility to circumvent many issues that occur in skilled nursing and assisted living communities.
PACE Advantage Through the Pandemic
The PACE advantage became strikingly obvious as the pandemic ensued. Skilled nursing and long-term care facilities accounted for 31% of COVID deaths in the US by June 2021. Shifting roles of PACE staff members allowed for an “all-hands-on-deck” philosophy where all had a part in direct care to participants; executive directors preparing to-go meals, van drivers delivering meals, PTs and OTs treating participants at home, and creating tailored home exercise programs. In some PACE programs, family members and friends were hired and trained to care for participants. The list goes on. Requirement for this level of agility is needed for the foreseeable future. Compared to its counterparts, the PACE model of care can afford to shift staff responsibilities and discretionary spending to properly care for those participants who already live at home.
Although PACE nimbly shifts operational protocols to optimize high-touch care and support in the home, high-risk participants are still left in precarious circumstances. Fall risk looms large even when social isolation is partially mitigated. There is no silver bullet to cure staff shortages, but there is help.
Prioritize Care and Ease Workload
WalkWise and its Smart Walker Attachment give PACE staff ‘eyes-on’ and help prioritize care and ease daily workload. This complimentary technology allowed a PACE program in Michigan to reduce falls by 43% in 2021 – as staffing issues increased and COVID variants surged. WalkWise helps with observing daily activity at-a-glance through our web and mobile app; walker tip-overs, prolonged periods of inactivity, and concerning night activity. Our technology works successfully with PACE’s high-touch model of care, and WalkWise now operates with programs in 7 states.
Please let us know if your program would like to discuss how our technology helps PACE care teams streamline care, especially as staffing shortages and pandemic urgencies endure.
-The WalkWise Team