Saint Francis LIFE Celebrates Six Years of All-Inclusive Care Helping New Castle County Participants Live Safely at Home
LIFE is a Partnership Between Participants and Caregivers
Six years ago, Saint Francis LIFE opened its doors on the Wilmington Riverfront with the mission of helping participants to continue living safely at home in the community. Since welcoming its first participant, the LIFE program has grown to serve 261 New Castle County seniors and is still growing. The partnership between the LIFE program, LIFE participants and their caregivers is key to the success of the program.
Frank Quinn, son of LIFE participant Dolores Quinn, is a strong supporter of the LIFE program. The Quinns first became interested in LIFE when Dolores was 86 years old and in a short-term care rehabilitation facility recovering from a fall. After her stay, Dolores and her family wanted her to return to her apartment where she lived independently, but were concerned that her multiple medical conditions and mobility issues would create a challenge.
After her discharge from rehab, Frank and Dolores met with the LIFE Enrollment Specialist at Dolores’ home to learn more about the program, and were intrigued by the possibilities it offered. After the introductory meeting, Dolores and her family visited the LIFE Center, and were impressed with its many features designed to serve participants:
- A multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, social workers, dietician and therapists,
- A Primary Care Health Center for person-centered and coordinated medical care,
- A Specialty Care Network of more than 100 specialists and providers,
- An Adult Day program for socialization and activities,
- Rehabilitative services that include physical, occupational and speech therapies.
- In-home services for assistance with activities of daily living,
- Nutrition care for a healthy diet,
- Transportation to and from the LIFE Center and medical appointments, and a
- Spiritual Care program.
And the best part was that with LIFE services and supports, Dolores could stay living safely in her home as long as medically possible.
The LIFE Enrollment team helped Dolores through the application process, and together with Dolores and her family, the LIFE interdisciplinary team created a personalized care plan including all the services necessary to address and meet her medical and social needs and goals. Dolores happily became a participant in LIFE in March 2017.
Frank says that after joining LIFE, Dolores’ life changed for the better. Dolores sees LIFE primary care providers regularly. When she needs specialty care, LIFE schedules these appointments and provides transportation, which is a great help to Frank and his family. LIFE also provides Dolores with all prescription medications. “LIFE is a total care program. In the past, if Mom had medical problems, we might have needed to take her to five different doctors, and that could take five weeks,” he says. “LIFE is a one-stop shop and we can get to the root of her problems much more quickly.”
Several times a week, Dolores attends the LIFE Adult Day program where she’s made new friends and enjoys many different types of activities. She has her own personalized nutrition plan, too. When Dolores is at the LIFE Center, Frank knows his mother is in good hands and medical care is on-site and easily accessible. “Support from the program makes my family feel good because they know I’m being taken care of,” says Dolores with a smile. “Everybody here thinks about the participants.”
When Dolores is not feeling well while at the LIFE Center, she tells any staff person and she is evaluated. When Dolores has a medical concern after-hours or on the weekends, she or her family contacts LIFE’s on-call service for assistance from a nurse. Home health aides visit her at home and help her with personal care. “My aide knows everything I need,” Dolores says. “She helps me get ready for the day. She makes me laugh and we have fun together.”
Dolores receives physical and occupational therapy to maintain strength and mobility and reduce her risk for falls. “It’s given me more self-confidence,” Dolores says of therapy. “I always thought I couldn’t do things. I never thought I would be able to walk the parallel bars the way I do now.”
The LIFE program also provides Dolores with needed medical equipment and supplies. “Miss Quinn has made significant gains in therapy,” says Alison Kishter, LIFE Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. “We have worked together to rearrange her apartment and to provide durable medical equipment to ensure safe, functional mobility in her home.” When Dolores has needs in the community, her LIFE social worker helps her navigate and obtain services. Because Dolores qualifies medically and financially, she does not pay anything for LIFE.
Frank credits LIFE’s all-inclusive care and collaboration with helping Dolores maintain her ability to live in her own home. “Mom really loves the social aspects of the LIFE community, and appreciates the providers, therapists and social workers. It really is a partnership” between Dolores, her family and LIFE, he says. “We have great conversations about her care.”
LIFE serves participants who:
- Are 55 and older,
- Live in New Castle County,
- Need assistance with daily activities of living, such as dressing, bathing, grooming, eating, toileting and mobility, and
- Can live safely in their home and in the community with the help of LIFE.
The LIFE Approach to Care
LIFE utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to care that includes physicians and nurses; social workers; physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapists; and dieticians. This comprehensive team assesses each participant, and develops a personalized plan of care with input from the participant and their caregivers. Every person is considered individually; every care plan is different. All LIFE team members are actively engaged in the care, well-being and progress of each and every participant, and the team adds any services and supports that may be needed as health conditions and social needs change. “I chose LIFE because everything is organized for me,” says Confessor Torres, LIFE participant since May 2015. “I love it. I get to see my friends and my doctor at the same place.”
Primary Medical Care: Participants use LIFE’s geriatric-trained primary care providers and nurses, located at its on-site health center, to ensure that care is patient-centered, comprehensive and coordinated to address individual medical needs and goals. Preventive care is especially important in maintaining participants’ health. “LIFE is for me! I was not taking care of myself before,” says Mildred Hein, LIFE participant since April 2016.
“They do such a good job with my medical problems,” says George McClellan, LIFE participant since February 2015. “They are caring. They help my wife and me so much, even when we are in the hospital.” The health center also provides and helps participants with prescription medications. “I think the program is great! I don’t have to pay for my medications,” says Anna Howell, LIFE participant since September 2014.
Specialty Care: LIFE provides and coordinates all specialty care through its provider network of more than 100 specialists in the community. LIFE schedules all medical appointments and follow-up visits, and transports participants as needed. Some specialty services are also provided in the health center.
Social Services and Spiritual Care: Each LIFE participant has a social worker who serves as a liaison between the LIFE interdisciplinary team and the participant’s caregivers, and who facilitates communication and active involvement in the planning of health and social care. “The social workers feel like family to me. I can trust them no matter what is going on,” says Dorothy Farley, LIFE participant since 2013. A robust spiritual care program is also offered. “I am blessed and fortunate to be in such a program,” says Patricia Bland, LIFE participant since March 2014.
Adult Day Program and Nutrition Services. The LIFE Adult Day program provides participants with recreational activities and social interaction. Participants can join in on a variety of activities and clubs, explore new hobbies, meet new people and engage their minds and bodies to help them stay active. All participants have their own nutrition plan and enjoy a breakfast snack and hearty lunch while at the Adult Day program. Transportation is provided as needed. “I really like the companionship I experience coming to the LIFE Center,” says Jeanette Wedman, a LIFE participant since June 2018. “I love the people and the atmosphere is pleasant and fun,” says Dorothy Seeney, a LIFE participant since October 2018. “I really like coming to the Day Center,” says Felipa Cordero, a LIFE participant since October 2018. “Having so many friends from my native country to speak with is nice.”
Rehabilitation Services. Based on individual needs, participants might receive physical, occupational and speech therapies to maintain strength and mobility. Group therapies, kitchen safety and fall prevention classes are offered, and LIFE participants receive any adaptive and medical equipment they might need. “LIFE has helped me make my home safe,” says William Woods, a LIFE participant since August 2018. “They help me with my physical disabilities,” says Frank Carroll, a LIFE participant since November 2015.
Alternative options for pain management and general health and wellness, such as chair yoga, are quite popular. “The rehab therapists are amazing,” says Anne Kennard, LIFE participant since February 2014. “They help me with leg exercises and other activities to help with my arthritis pain. They make exercise fun.”
In-home Services. Some participants need assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, ambulation or transferring, when they are in their own home. Based on each participant’s needs and individual care plan, LIFE provides these kinds of supports in the home, which can reinforce a participant’s ability to remain safely living at home. “I love the homecare,” says Edith Stanley, a LIFE participant since May 2014. “My aide takes care of me.”
LIFE Expansion in Newark
Many more elderly in New Castle County can benefit from the services and supports of the LIFE all-inclusive care program. Trinity Health, the parent company of Saint Francis Healthcare, is one of the largest providers of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly in the Unites States. With the support of Trinity Health, Saint Francis Healthcare is building a second Saint Francis LIFE Center on Route 896 in Newark. This second site will enable LIFE to expand its reach and will help 250 more New Castle County participants to remain living independently in their homes.
LIFE complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
For more information about Saint Francis LIFE or to schedule a meeting with an Enrollment Specialist, call us at 302-660-3351.