Clinic still keeping up with St. Paul’s PACE after 10 years

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The concept is simple and deeply compassionate: provide sufficient support to frail, low-income seniors so that they can live independently at home as they choose, rather than being relegated to skilled nursing facilities. This has been the mission guiding St. Paul’s PACE since the local program’s inception one decade ago.

The concept is simple and deeply compassionate: provide sufficient support to frail, low-income seniors so that they can live independently at home as they choose, rather than being relegated to skilled nursing facilities. This has been the mission guiding St. Paul’s PACE since the local program’s inception one decade ago.

And celebrate this 10th year anniversary, the staff and supporters of St. Paul’s PACE did. Celebration of the program’s Diamond Anniversary was with a three-hour festive party at the newest PACE site in El Cajon, during the afternoon of Wednesday, July 11, 2017.

PACE, “Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly,” is an offshoot of St. Paul’s Senior Services, which have been in nonprofit business providing housing and care for seniors for 55 years.

The El Cajon facility opened for selected senior services in early March and awaits approval for full operation of on-site clinic medical care services, expected later this summer.

According to Kim Stratman, center director for El Cajon PACE, all areas of the facility except the clinic are already in active use. Hot lunches are served daily, based on special dietary needs of program participants. Social and craft activities are offered daily as well. After seven years with PACE, Stratman was promoted in time to oversee last-minute construction and building at the El Cajon location.

“I love what I do,” Stratman said.

Occupational therapist Liz Allison sees at least five PACE participants in El Cajon each day now.

“We love having people come in,” said Allison.

Additionally, the El Cajon facility allows program participants free use of washers, dryers, showers, and online computer terminals. 

“These computers have been a great tool,” said Stratman, noting that PACE participants at the El Cajon center have been given lessons to learn how to go online for research and email communications.

Amanda Gois, corporate marketing director, has been with St. Paul’s Senior Services for 11 years and with PACE for the entirety of its existence. Gois introduced the brief formal ceremony honoring staffers with introductions prior to the cake cutting.

“El Cajon is our new baby,” Gois said. “This is the best move we’ve made in years, to come here to East County.”

Gois requested referrals for any nearby seniors in need of PACE services.

Over the last decade, the program has enrolled over 1,300 participants, has provided over 3.100 home care visits during 2018 alone, and has housed 140 homeless clients. St. Paul’s PACE serves more than 150 senior meals each day, sees 160 Day Center visitors daily, and hosts 40-50 clinic appointments each day for such medical needs as doctor consultation, assessment, and wound care.

PACE is open to seniors at least 55 years of age who live in a PACE-covered service area, need a skilled nursing level of care, and are able to live safely alone with the assistance of PACE services. PACE services range from primary and specialty medical care, including dentistry, podiatry and optometric care, prescription medications, laboratory diagnostics, dietary care, through in-home assistance, rehabilitation therapies, transportation, supportive case management, recreational therapy activities and lunches.

More information about PACE services and referrals for seniors in East County will have a starting point by calling (619) 551-7400.

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