PROVIDENCE – A nonprofit dedicated to providing Rhode Island’s elder population with adult day center services – keeping clients out of nursing homes and reducing the strain on their caregivers – moved into a new, modern flagship location in East Providence that’s twice the size of its original headquarters, as the organization expands to better meet the region’s booming demand for senior care.
PACE Organization of Rhode Island opened its new headquarters, a health clinic and adult day center, on Thursday morning at 10 Tripps Lane in East Providence, a 60,000-square-foot building that was formerly used as a Citizens Bank operations facility.
“Everybody deserves care this good, no matter how much money you have,” said Tom Boucher, a spokesperson for PACE-RI, which serves mostly Medicare and Medicaid eligible clients. “Everybody deserves quality care as they age. This place reflects that.”
The new health clinic features eight medical exam rooms, including an airborne infection and isolation room, along with a dental operatory, a lab, and a behavioral health counseling space. The East Providence PACE-RI site also houses a large occupational and physical therapy suite, and an alternative therapy room where participants can receive massage and acupuncture for pain management. The organization said medicine will be distributed at the center, and shower services will be offered to participants who need assistance with daily hygiene.
Beyond medical care, PACE-RI said it’s happy that the new East Providence center offers a “warm and home like” atmosphere, with lots of natural light, a fireplace, a player piano and furnishing, along with recreational activities like Skee-Ball, shuffleboard, a music room with a recording studio and a game room. There’s also is an arts and crafts studio, a sewing area, raised flower beds for accessible gardening and a meditation room.
And clients can get involved with the daily cooking with an executive chef at the PACE-RI center.
“The executive chef is committed to making family favorite dishes when possible,” the organization said. “There is a demonstration kitchen so that participants will be able to learn new recipes and techniques while savoring the smells of foods as they are prepared.”
The nonprofit said it purchased the building for $4 million, before Case Construction completed a six-month, $6.5 million renovation that employed 30 tradesmen. Vision 3 Architects of Providence designed the space, and the Aspen Group served as project manager.
PACE-RI began moving its senior participants in late July from its original home of more than 16 years, the former 25,000-square-foot flagship building it leased at 225 Chapman St., to other adult day center sites the organization operates in Westerly and Woonsocket.
PACE-RI said the Chapman Street center was at capacity serving 85 participants, six days a week, while the new center in East Providence will have the space to accommodate 150 participants at full capacity. This comes as PACE-RI said it has experienced a 22% increase in participation compared to two years ago, and the nonprofit said it anticipates growing from 350 to 500 clients by early 2023.
Boucher said 20 patients were introduced to the new adult day center at 10 Tripps Lane this week, with another 20 expected next week. Boucher said the growth of PACE-RI will allow the organization to serve more of the 7,000 Ocean State seniors who qualify for its services.
“That number is increasing because Rhode Island has one of the biggest populations of people 85 or older on a per capita basis than any other place in the country,” Boucher said. “And the number of people who qualify is rapidly increasing.”
These adult day centers reduce an over-reliance on nursing homes in Rhode Island, Boucher said.
“There’s been an initiative in the state to rebalance this by offering more home-based community options,” Boucher said. “As people age, they want resources to support them and stay in their own homes.”
The service can be a big relief for people who take care of seniors, including the adult children of the elderly who work full-time jobs, providing a bus with a certified nursing assistant aboard to transport clients to the center, with all the medical, behavioral, dental and nutritional care on site, along with recreational activities tailored to meet participants diverse interests and abilities, Boucher said.
“We routinely hear what a godsend this is for families,” Boucher said. “We handle the whole thing for them.”
Staff accommodations in the new East Providence facility include a gym, showers, and a quiet room with lounge chairs for nursing mothers.
PACE-RI said the expansion allows the organization to add 14 full-time staff. Previously, PACE-RI employed 86 people in its Providence location, with about 150 employees overall statewide.
PACE-RI said the new facility in East Providence was made possible by a $730,000 capital campaign fund that was supported by donors including The Champlin Foundation, Delta Dental of Rhode Island, Pawtucket Credit Union, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and The Fred M. Roddy Foundation.
Supporters of the expansion said it comes at a time when nursing homes face difficulties with staffing and COVID-19.
“With the challenges of nursing homes clearer each day, it’s exciting to see PACE-RI’s innovative approach to serving frail seniors outside of an institutional setting,” said Elizabeth A. McIntyre, president of the Fred M. Roddy Foundation.
Marc Larocque is a PBN staff writer. Contact him at Larocque@PBN.com.