Improving the Quality of Senior Life

LIFE St. Francis was the first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) initiative in New Jersey. Christine Walley explains the program's development.

    • September 4, 2012

LIFE St. Francis is very grateful for the support and vision demonstrated by the New Jersey Health Initiatives Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which assisted St. Francis Medical Center to implement the PACE model for New Jersey seniors. A PACE Program is a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and LIFE St. Francis was the first PACE Program in the State of New Jersey.

The New Jersey Health Initiatives Program provided valuable financial and professional resources throughout the rigorous three year development period which preceded the opening LIFE St. Francis in April 2009. Since then, over 305 participants in Mercer County and three towns in Burlington County have been served through LIFE St. Francis. With a current census of 216, LIFE St. Francis provides comprehensive services to seniors who are clinically eligible for nursing home placement but who wish to remain living safely and independently in their homes. Our services include geriatric primary care services, specialty care services, transportation, home care and day center visits to name just a few. The program provides customized care focused on the individual’s particular needs and situation. Care is provided by a full interdisciplinary team which includes geriatricians, nurses, in home support staff, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, social workers and spiritual care providers.

“Since the inception of LIFE St. Francis, we have seen significant improvement in the quality of our participants’ lives. They are more social, on fewer medications, and have fewer emergency room visits and inpatient stays, while their caregivers have reduced stress,” said Jill Viggiano, Executive Director of LIFE St. Francis. “The grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation helped provide crucial resources to launch this program which supports our mission to serve the community’s frail elderly while promoting their dignity and independence.”

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