Andrew Parker was inspired to launch Papa (www.joinpapa.com) from a personal mission to support his own “Papa”, his grandfather Joseph. As a widower, Joseph was aging in place and needed assistance, but he didn’t need or qualify for homecare. He was able to feed and bathe himself, change his own clothing, and was ambulatory with activities of daily living (ADL), but he was alone, sad and needed periodic assistance with light housework.
Loneliness has a huge effect on older adults. 50% of older adults consider themselves lonely.1 Lonelinessandsocialisolation,whencombinedinolderadultsisequivalenttosmoking 15 cigarettes a day2. Loneliness is likely to increase your risk of death 29%3, increase your likelihood of suffering from depression 2.4x, and even increases the chance of Alzheimer’s2x4.
The government now recognizes how critical this is to older adults and their health. So much so that in 2018, CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid) officially added non-skilled in- home care as a Medicare Advantage Benefit.5 Then again on April 1st, CMS updated the ruling to further open up opportunities for Papa to provide companion care6. United Healthcare in the past few weeks submitted 23 additional service codes around Loneliness to CMS for consideration with ICD-10. The American Medical Association and NCQA are both behind the initiative as well.
In comes Papa. Papa connects college students to older adults for companionship, assistance, and transportation. The college students, who we call Papa Pals, are like “Grandkids On-Demand”. They will drive a member to the doctor, stay with them during the appointment, take the member grocery shopping, get the member back home, help them put away their groceries, and play a board game or engage the member in an outdoor activity. Papa Pals also provide house help, tech lessons, transportation, and companionship.
Papa develops a program with the Medicare Advantage plan, Medicaid, DSNP populations, Employer Groups, and Health Systems to support their older members. The goal of the program is to reduce loneliness, social isolation, and the lack of transportation for their members. Additionally, The Papa Pals are uniquely positioned to capture relevant non-clinical data for the health plans in the home. This data, in addition to the Papa Program can help to improve overall the member experience with the plan, and ultimately 5-Star Quality Ratings.
1 https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201807/what-you-need-know-about-the- loneliness-epidemic
2 https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/americas-loneliness-epidemic-is-more-lethal-than-smoking-heres-what-you- can-do-to-combat-isolation.html
5 https://homehealthcarenews.com/2018/04/cms-officially-adds-non-skilled-in-home-care-as-medicare- advantage-benefit/
6 https://homehealthcarenews.com/2019/04/cms-adds-more-in-home-care-services-as-medicare-advantage- benefits-for-2020/