All-inclusive health care for senior citizens comes to Wilmington, Delaware riverfront

Saint Francis Health System will bring an innovative health care program focusing on senior citizens to a former retail site at the Wilmington riverfront.

The LIFE program – Living Independently for Elders – will help seniors receive care while remaining in their homes as long as they are willing and able.  A 28-thousand square foot corner of the Shipyard Center will be renovated for the facility, which is expected to employ 40 to 50 healthcare professionals, including doctors, nurses and therapists.

“These folks that we provide services for will not fade into the background but will rather be up front and present,” Saint Francis President and CEO Julie Hester said at a ceremony Monday.  “Saint Francis LIFE is going to change the way the elderly live out their lives.” 

Saint Francis worked with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services in coming up with a program as well as determining the facilities and personnel necessary to run it.  DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said the LIFE center will serve a large population of Medicaid and Medicare recipients, who often have chronic health conditions but also want to age in their homes with dignity. 

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“It’s a program that is happening across the country,” Landgraf said.  “It’s all-inclusive care for the elderly, and Saint Francis really stepped up to the plate to support the seniors in our community.”  

The facility is expected to include clinics, treatment rooms, exercise space, administrative space and a chapel.  Catholic Health East, Saint Francis’ parent company, is investing $4 million into the project.  It will be capable of serving at least 200 senior citizens at any one time.  Hester added it will also benefit a large number of caregivers by giving them a respite from the constant demand of caring for an elderly relative. 

The LIFE center is expected to open in January 2013. 

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