BANGOR, Maine — Penobscot Community Health Care is pleased to announce that it has received a $24,912 grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation for its “At-Risk Geriatric In-Home Expansion” Project. The purpose of the project is to increase PCHC’s capacity to provide home-based primary care to patients age 65 or older who have one or more chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, congestive heart failure, end-stage renal disease, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cancer. The goal is to allow people to continue to live in their own homes and communities while maintaining their health and avoiding emergency department usage and hospitalization.
The grant will support the addition of a Medical Assistant which will nearly triple the number of at-risk older individuals the Community Care and Geriatrics Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant can provide in-home medical care for, as the MA will assist with more routine tasks currently performed by the providers, such as scheduling visits; preparing documentation and gathering data; making referrals post-visit; reconciling medication records; performing lab draws and injections; and providing education about community resources.
The grant will allow PCHC to put systems in place to see at least 70 patients in their homes, with the ultimate goal of offering the service to all of our high-risk geriatric patients. This is a much-needed service, and the demand will continue to increase. Projections indicate that by 2030, one in four residents of the state will be over 65; and Maine’s State Plan on Aging states that “90% of older Mainers report wanting to remain in their homes and communities as they age.” In addition to satisfying personal preferences, supporting people to age in place can result in lower healthcare costs, primarily from a decrease in avoidable hospitalizations and emergency department visits. At the same time, health outcomes improve because patients who lack the mobility or means to get to their providers’ offices can still receive care.