by James Coburn – staff writer
Sara Brickey leads a company whose mission is revolutionizing care for seniors.
She was recently promoted to president of Valir PACE (Program for All Inclusive Care of the Elderly) after serving as executive director of the company she joined in 2015.
Brickey joined Valir PACE as the RN coordinator and advanced to the role of director of nursing in 2018 and then was promoted to executive director in 2019.
She received her Associates degree in Nursing from Oklahoma City Community College and then earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma.
“We provide care for seniors in an all-inclusive setting which means we have providers here,” she said from her office in midtown Oklahoma City. “We provide them physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.” (story continues below)
Valir PACE also provides nutrition through the expertise of a dietitian. It offers home care, social services, counseling, and assistance with housing. Primary care providers and RN care coordinators instill best practices. Licensed practical nurses offer care at the center and participants’ homes. Valir PACE also collaborates with the Department of Human Services.
Transportation is provided by PACE to any of their clients outside appointments such as dialysis or other specialty appointments.
Valir PACE at Valir Health, serves individuals 55 and older who reside in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area within a 50-mile radius.
“We are growing and expanding into other service areas as well,” she said.
Valir PACE serves seniors who don’t always have the ability and access to what PACE can assist them with. They can help participants who must choose between medicine or food. There is no copay for any medication provided by Valir PACE.
“Some of our new participants have not seen a physician for a very long time or they do not have their medication because they can’t afford them,” she continued.
Many participants have experienced enormous financial burdens because they must use what money they have for transportation to medical appointments. So, caregivers often thank the Valir PACE staff members for caring for their loved ones.
“We have turned so many seniors into a positive lifestyle. They’re as happy and independent as possible at home by being out of nursing homes or hospitals,” Brickey said. “That is the goal of PACE. Participants are so thankful for the services that we provide. The goal of all seniors is to remain in their home independently. With our assistance and with the tools our team can provide, we are able to do that for many seniors.”
Brickey commends the staff for their compassionate concern for the welfare of others.
“I don’t even have the words for it — they have such a servant heart — they give 150 percent. They really care about the participants, their wellbeing, their outcomes and how they’re doing day-to-day,” Brickey said. “Every one of them has that heart.”
Small changes in a participant’s stability are noted during home visits.
“We’re able to assist them with that before it becomes something big,” she explained. “And so, it’s a team effort, especially for what all the staff has done through COVID with the flexibility to serve and continue to give to these participants. It puts me in awe. I am humble to be part of this team and thankful for what we do.”
By working toward and achieving their personal best, seniors find freedom in knowing their navigation beyond hardship is supported by PACE’s staff at their side. They are not alone in their journey.
“24/7, we have nurses and providers on call so we can assist them with their needs. And it gives them peace of mind in that regard as well.”
Remote vital monitoring is provided in homes. Tablets have provided virtual monitoring during COVID.
Peace of mind among clients becomes fuel for the soul of the team of staff members serving them, Brickey said.
“We see miracles. If you are in nursing or if you are in health care for the heart of making a difference and truly impacting seniors’ lives, then this is the place to be because we get to do that every day,” she said.
Some participants have been with Valir PACE for many years. Many of the participants enrolled in PACE stay with the program for life.
“There are some that really don’t have a family. We have become part of the participants’ family,” she said. “We have housekeepers and staff in the home. We spend a lot of time with them, but it is all the different disciplines that can do that. We come together as a team.”
To learn more about Valir PACE visit: www.valirpace.org or call 405-339-0540.