After 20 years of caring for families at Pueblo Community Health Center, Dr. Rona Knudsen embraces her role as InnovAge PACE’s Center Medical Director, helping vulnerable older adults in the community. <br />
Meet an InnovAge Social Worker
April 12, 2021
Social workers play a critical role in the care provided by InnovAge. They are also a part of the care team assigned to each older adult enrolled in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE. Meet Justin Collins, social services manager, and learn more about the social work team’s efforts to support participants and caregivers in their PACE journey.
PACE Social Work
InnovAge social workers are part of the PACE care team of doctors, dentists, physical therapists, home health aides, and dietitians. Together, they ensure participant’s medical needs are covered. “It’s constant communication and coordination – especially when we’re all remote due to the pandemic,” Justin says.
Much of what InnovAge’s social workers do is case management. They keep things organized for the participant and their caregiver. And they act as the primary liaison between the participant and other organizations and facilities in the community. A key area includes looking after a participants’ emotional well-being, and ensuring their living situation is safe and secure.
“It’s rewarding to support our participants who have never really had access to much of anything. For some, our PACE physician is the first regular physician they have ever had. Many of our seniors have been profoundly at-risk for much of their lives,” explains Justin.
Adjusting to COVID-19
Another important aspect of the role is regular screenings for depression and cognition. Usually done in person, social workers can also screen seniors using telehealth.
“Adapting to the pandemic didn’t come without its challenges,” says Justin. “We’re always looking for ways to grow and do what we do better. The InnovAge social work team has done an incredible job of rising to the occasion.”
Having an impact
PACE social work is versatile and rewarding – both personally and professionally. “We’re involved in pretty much every facet of our participants’ lives. The coolest thing about PACE is being a part of a system that’s committed to ensuring participants are cared for,” Justin says.
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