Living Independently for Elders Center

Living Independently for Elders Center

Providing Quality Care to Seniors - at Home


Background & Goal

Frail, inner-city seniors facing complex medical, functional and psycho-social problems who are nursing home-eligible but want to remain in the familiar surroundings of their own homes and communities.

Living Independently for Elders Center strives to provide integrated nurse led comprehensive mental and physical health care and social service program through a coordinated integrated health plan.

Center Description

The Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) Center is a nurse led academic Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program, owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing, which provides alternatives to nursing home admissions for West Philadelphia residents. Teams of health care providers manage the complex medical, functional and psycho-social problems faced by elderly clients.

What it Does

  • Delivers comprehensive care 24 hour/7 day per week services through a team of primary care nurse practitioners and physicians who have privileges at the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS).
  • Currently provides meals, recreational activities, nursing and health care, medications, treatment, physical therapy, art and music therapy, and personal care services like laundry, showers, and hair care to more than 430 clients daily. The program grows on average by 2 members per month. 
  • Provides round-the-clock services to poor urban residents who would otherwise need nursing home care. Clients are transported from home by LIFE vans to the LIFE Center and health appointments. At the LIFE Center, they engage in recreational activities and receive care and meals. Care is provided at home on an as needed basis on a plan of care that includes the family and older adult. The LIFE Center is responsible for care 24/7.
  • Promotes independence and the highest levels of functioning while allowing choice and dignity for the members and their families. 
  • Serves as a model for integration of practice, education, and research, not only in nursing, but in health care.
  • Serves as a model of integrating fiscal responsibility, access to service, and quality of care using a Medicare/Medicaid capitated per member per month rate.

How it Stands Out

  • Acute care hospital admission for LIFE members are only 7.5 (1.7%) per 430 members – only about 2/3 the rate of those in Pennsylvania nursing home facilities.
  • Emergency department visits occur at a very low rate of 2.6 (0.6%) per 435.
  • High member and family satisfaction rates, preserves community neighborhoods.
  • Saves the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare 20 percent annually in Medicaid reimbursement costs.
  • Saves Medicare for cost of hospitalizations and emergency department visits.
  • Is completely self-supporting and fiscally sound; earns reinvestment funds for the Penn School of Nursing.
  • Nursing home services are reduced by number of admissions and length of stay.
  • Care in hospital is provided by or coordinated by the LIFE nurses, social workers and physicians ensuring continuity of care delivered by a team familiar to the member and their family.
  • Serves as an educational facility for interprofessional learning among nursing, social worker, medicine, dental, and rehabilitation services.
  • Serves as an innovation learning laboratory for faculty and students in health care business and health services outcomes research that is patient-centered.

For More Information Contact:

Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, CRNP, RN, FAAN

Eileen_Sullivan-Marx2.jpgDean and Erline Perkins McGriff Professor
New York University College of Nursing
726 Broadway
Tenth Floor
New York, NY 10003