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  • Apr 22, 2020

Keeping PACE with change

"We’re protecting our elders and our staff while still providing care."

“We’re used to seeing people almost every day,” explained Tara Sherman, CHA PACE Nurse Manager. “We had to figure out how to adapt in ways we never imagined.”

Making the MOLST of it

CHA PACE started by updating every participant’s MOLST -- Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. Orders are written to reflect what the participant's desires are around care. Identifying a healthcare proxy, while different from MOLST, is something we all should be doing. That’s someone who can speak for you, if you can’t speak for yourself. It sounds scary, but it’s important to talk with your proxy about what kind of care you want or don’t want if you are very sick. CHA PACE is working to help participants identify a trusted proxy.

Still caring

Being alone is dangerous for older people, especially those struggling with health issues. PACE social work and recreation therapy staff is connecting with its participants by phone, while in-person clinical care continues when essential.

Special COVID-19 teams now visit PACE participants in pairs. This is important because putting on and taking off personal protective equipment (PPE) is hard. But it decreases the risk of exposure when done properly.

Each team includes a van and driver from Cataldo, our transportation partner. Cataldo is also supporting participants by delivering Meals on Wheels, getting patients with COVID-19 to dialysis and driving patients to get tested.

It’s not easy

Because PACE participants are already struggling with health issues, they’re more at risk if they get COVID-19. It has been a difficult month for the team, losing several patients.

“Our frontline work is different from people working in hospitals,” explained Sherman. “We know each of our participants very well. We support them in their own homes -- sometimes in assisted living facilities -- we know their stories and their families. Watching these people get sick is heartbreaking.”

With little time to grieve, CHA PACE Outreach Manager, Elissa Klein, is supporting families and staff by creating a memory book with a page for each person who passes during this difficult time. Staff members are contributing to each page. When completed, Elissa shares them with family members. It’s a way for the CHA PACE team to honor their special relationships and heal.


There are many people whose caregivers are getting sick, or their situations are changing and they need the support PACE provides. Home assessments are done virtually and PACE is being innovative in enrolling people.

“Some people are really struggling and we’re doing everything we can to keep them in their homes,” said Sherman. “Watching everyone step up -- brings me to tears sometimes. We’re protecting our elders and our staff while still providing care.”

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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