When Lacey VanDerMeulen moved to Colorado from Battle Creek, Michigan, two years ago, she was sad to leave behind her job with the CentraCare PACE program there. She was a clinic licensed practical nurse (LPN) who had moved up to a case manager position as a registered nurse (RN).
“I love the idea that we really get to know the participants. Everyone really cares about one another,” she says of the Loveland center, where she’s just celebrated her one-year anniversary. “We can pick up on things that a clinical staff wouldn’t notice otherwise.”
Lacey’s healthcare career comes naturally — her mom works in radiology and her dad in hospital maintenance. She came to Colorado with her husband so he could pursue a Ph.D. in psychology, but found that she loves it so much her parents have now moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., and one brother has moved to Fort Collins, Colo. (“We’re still working on my other brother,” she says.”)
“At any moment, I can get to the mountains,” she says. “I love hiking and sightseeing.”
Loveland center employees wear a lot of hats. Lacey runs the triage room, wound care, and handles medication ordering and packaging for delivery. Lacey and Dr. Mason Shamis recently welcomed Medical Assistant Cecilia Salas to the clinic team.
Lacey has done the nursing assessment for every new InnovAge Greater Colorado PACE – North Center in Loveland participant who has joined since the center’s doors opened less than a year ago. When a new participant joins InnovAge PACE, one of the first tasks is a head-to-toe nursing assessment. Each body system is checked to establish a baseline. That enables the nurse to identify areas for improvement and recommend interventions.
“I like that we keep participants as independent as possible,” she says.
One of the biggest sources of satisfaction in her job is to be a help to the family caregivers. ”Lots of caregivers get really burned out,” she says. “Being here, I get to step in. I feel privileged to be able to do that for people.”