K-State’s PEAK program looks to change culture of care homes

The PEAK program is a Medicaid paid-for performance program at the K-State Center of Aging.
Published: Oct. 22, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - The PEAK program is a Medicaid paid-for performance program that the K-State Center of Aging has partnered with the Kansas Department of Age and Disability Services to provide to nursing homes across Kansas.

Laci Cornelson, the PEAK program coordinator, said this program really benefits the quality of life for the elderly.

“Nursing homes quality has been really geared towards good clinical quality of care but, we know that quality of life is important too, so person-centered care is a way that nursing homes can change the system of their care to really individualize the experience for elders and increase their ability to have a good quality of life,” said Cornelson.

PEAK started in 2002 as a recognition and education program to encourage providers in Kansas to adopt culture change. But in 2012, it changed to PEAK 2.0 as it replaced the phrase “culture change” with “person-centered care.”

“I think that anytime that elders can be who they are and they’re giving up homes to move into a different way of life because of chronic illness or disease and they still want to be who they are. And so this is a way that they can get their clinical needs met but also live out their lives with good quality, too. So, I think it means a lot to them. It’s their life,” said Cornelson.

Cornelson said that this might be one of the biggest transitions of their lives as seniors move to a caregiver that they will not know.

“One of the hearts of person-centered care is consistent staffing and so that’s a concept where instead of staff taking care of a lot of different elders they take care of a smaller group of elders and get to know them really well,” said Cornelson.

Cornelson also mentioned that this has a huge impact on changing the tradition of nursing homes.

“We’re helping nursing homes change a tradition of care that spanned forever that’s based on the hospital. And staying in a hospital is okay short term but elders live in a nursing home on average of 2 and half years once they move in and we wouldn’t want to live in a hospital for 2 and half years,” said Cornelson.

The program focuses on five essentials of person-centered care as PEAK prepares to host its annual conference at K-State.