Here are some frequently asked questions about SpiriTrust Lutheran’s LIFE program or center. Contact us with any additional questions you may have – we’d be glad to help!

Is this 24-hour care?

The center is not open 24 hours; however, home care is provided when needed to meet the requirements of the participant’s plan of care. This could include evenings, weekends, days the participant doesn’t come to the center, or even days the participant does come to the center but needs help to get ready in the morning. We also have a nurse on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to address any issues that arise.

Do participants live at the LIFE Center?

No, our participants continue to live at home in their communities. The LIFE program is designed to provide quality senior care at home, with caregiver assistance, in-home nursing care, personal care, rehabilitation services, nutrition assistance, social support, medical service, and transportation services – all through one comprehensive program. Our LIFE Centers are open Monday thru Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. We have an On-Call Nurse 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Where do most of the LIFE participants live?

Our participants can live in their own homes, senior housing complexes, apartments, or with family.

I don't care for group activities. Would I have to come to the LIFE center every day?

Our participants generally attend the LIFE Center two to three times a week. However, some come five days a week, while others are there only a few times a month. Your level of attendance will be decided by you and your LIFE care team.

How do I know if I am eligible?

In order to be eligible for the LIFE program, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 55 years of age
  • You must live in one of our service areas
  • Be eligible for Medicaid or able to pay privately
  • Be able to live safely in the community
  • Must be determined to be medically eligible by your local Agency on Aging

Is SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE a nursing home?

No, SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE is a unique nursing-home alternative. Our goal is to help our participants maintain their independence and live in their own homes for as long as possible.

If my loved one becomes a member, and I have questions or want to discuss something about her care, how do I communicate with the team?

Participants and their caregivers are encouraged to participate in the care planning process. The primary contact would be able to communicate with any member of the LIFE team who is the most appropriate to answer your specific question or concern.

Are there any health restrictions?

Participants must qualify for nursing facility level of care as determined by the Area Agency on Aging.

Will SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE take my Social Security and SSI checks?

No. Participants maintain control over their finances.

What happens if someone needs to go to the hospital?

Our LIFE team will continue to provide coordination of care even while the participant is in the hospital, including discharge planning. The team also assists with post-discharge medications and instructions.

How much does the LIFE program cost?

For participants who have Medicare and Medicaid, the entire cost is covered by their insurance. Individuals who do not qualify for Medicaid may participate by paying a monthly premium. Please contact us for current monthly rates.

How does this work with hospice?

We can customize and include end-of-life care as part of a participant’s LIFE program plan. However, if there is a need for support from hospice, SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE does also offer additional hospice care services.

What happens when someone goes to a nursing home?

The stay is covered by the LIFE program, although there may be a patient copay. The LIFE team continues to provide coordination of care, whether the participant is in a skilled care facility for a short or long-term stay.

Can someone quit being in the LIFE program?

Yes, a participant or participant’s legal guardian can voluntarily cancel their enrollment at the end of any month.

How do you enroll in the LIFE program?

Because the LIFE program is unique, there is a defined enrollment process. This process includes assessments by the Area Agency on Aging and LIFE staff, both in the center and in the prospective participant’s home. Ready to get started? Simply call us at 1-800-840-9081.

I’m a family member. Can I bring my loved one to the center if the center’s van pick-up doesn’t fit our schedule?

Yes. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and you can arrange alternate transportation for the participant in your care.

Is this adult day care?

No. While the daytime services at the LIFE Center are an essential part of the LIFE program, the program is much more inclusive and comprehensive. Most adult day cares do not offer in-home options, or cannot provide the specialized medical care and rehabilitative services we do.

SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE carefully manages all of a participant’s health care needs, which is more than what a traditional adult day care is equipped to do.

What if the participant gets better?

Quality of life, mobility and health typically improve once a participant is in the LIFE program. Some LIFE participants actually improve so much that they are no longer eligible for a nursing home.

When a participant improves that much, he or she can continue in the LIFE program if we can demonstrate that his or her health or quality of life would decline without it. Otherwise, a participant no longer needs to be enrolled once he or she is able to live independently without LIFE’s services.

Can you be dismissed from the program?

Yes, a participant may be dismissed under very limited circumstances. For example, if a participant relocates out of a SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE service area or doesn’t pay her or his premiums. Dismissal is rare and reviewed by the state for accountability.

What if a LIFE participant in my family needs help in both the morning and the evening?

Depending on your family member’s needs, LIFE may send a personal care assistant to the home at multiple points in the participant’s daily routine.

What if someone is already in a skilled nursing facility?

Upon enrollment in the LIFE program, an individual must be living in the community and have a desire to stay in the community. We cannot enroll someone who is a resident of a skilled facility and has no intention of leaving the facility.

However, if the individual is currently in a skilled facility but would like to return to the community, please contact us to discuss if he or she could be eligible for the LIFE program.

Who determines if a South Central PA senior is eligible for a nursing home?

The Area Agency on Aging determines a senior Pennsylvanian’s nursing home eligibility, based on a specific clinical assessment.

Do I have to give up my physician?

Your medical care would be managed by a clinical team, which includes the LIFE physician and a certified registered nurse practitioner. This coordination is essential to your success in the LIFE program. Because we understand that this change may be difficult, the LIFE team works to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Which doctors do the dental and vision care?

We have contracts with both dental and vision care providers that a participant can choose from. If a participant has a specific dental or vision provider they prefer, we will try to contract that provider.

Can I still see the same specialists (such as a cardiologist) that I am seeing now?

We will make every effort to contract your specialists if they are not already among our contracted providers.

If I go to the hospital, will the LIFE physician come there to see me or will I see the hospital’s physicians?

Typically, you’ll see the hospital’s physicians if you need to be treated there, but they will work very closely with the LIFE physician and certified registered nurse practitioner. Both have hospital privileges and can stop by to see you.

What about the hours that a participant is not at the LIFE Center?

Everyone’s situation is unique. The LIFE interdisciplinary team will work with each participant and his or her family to develop a plan that includes the time he or she is not at the LIFE Center. That plan may include support from family and friends, as well as other care services provided by SpiriTrust Lutheran LIFE.

What other services are provided by SpiriTrust Lutheran?

In addition to the LIFE program, SpiriTrust Lutheran serves those in need regardless of their faith, creed, beliefs or life experiences. Additional services include:

  • SpiriTrust Lutheran Home Care & Hospice which brings skilled home health services, in-home care, hospice care, palliative care, telehealth and grief counseling directly to your home or the home of a loved one.
  • Six Life Plan Communities which offer the the joy and freedom of maintenance-free senior living.

What if I don't speak English?

That is not a problem!  We have language assistance available.