LIFE (Living Independently For Elders), which has served senior citizens in West and Southwest Philadelphia since 1998, now can accept qualified older members of the Yeadon, Lansdowne, Upper Darby, and Havertown communities in nearby Delaware County, Pa. A program of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, LIFE offers a nurse-led, interdisciplinary approach to all-inclusive healthcare for frail seniors.
Modeled after the national Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
plan, LIFE offers frail seniors, faced with probable nursing home placement, the choice to remain in their communities, live in their homes, and receive healthcare and social services at the LIFE Center at 4508 Chestnut Street in West Philadelphia. Funded by Medicare
and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare
, Penn's LIFE program remains the first and only such program in the nation to be owned and operated by a school of nursing.
For LIFE to serve a broader member base, Hugh O. Allen, director of commonwealth relations in Penn’s Office of Government and Community Affairs, collaborated with Sen. Anthony H. Williams to lead the approval effort in the Pennsylvania state government.
Inside the LIFE Center, men and women mingle over lunch, and a handful of gentlemen gather around a billiards table, ready to play their third game of the day. A woman swivels in her chair, mirror in hand, to admire her new hairstyle, while four ladies wait in line to meet with the visiting optometrist.
Since its inception, LIFE successfully has served more than 600 Philadelphia seniors. LIFE recently earned a Pathway to Excellence designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and in October, LIFE nurse Samantha Thomas was named the 2012 Outstanding PACE Nurse of the Year.
“LIFE exemplifies the best of Penn Nursing,” said Daniel Drake, the program’s executive director. “We provide direct care to patients, learning opportunities for students, and rich sources of data for researchers studying a range of health concerns.”