Panel defines person-centered care

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Person-centered care means putting individual values and preferences at the heart of care decisions, measuring success by attention to people's health and life goals, according to an interprofessional panel of eldercare experts convened by the American Geriatrics Society.

The panel, in collaboration with the University of Southern California and with support from The SCAN Foundation, released findings from a research project meant to better define the often-used phrase and key elements of the approach on Dec. 3.

“Person-centered care is essential for older adults with chronic health conditions and functional limitations who need well-coordinated, team-based care,” said Bruce A. Chernof, M.D., president and CEO of The SCAN Foundation. “This concept shifts the success vision of healthcare on the things that matter most to people — how they are living every day with complex needs and achieving their personal goals. Person-centered care defines quality and value beyond technical measures of care toward dignity, respect of personal choices and life outcomes achieved.”

A person-centered approach begins by gathering specific information about a person's preferences in light of health circumstances, according to the panel. It includes input from family members and other caregivers if the person wishes. A comprehensive health and functional assessment complete the package that individuals can use to form and articulate their goals related to health and life.

“This research will help healthcare professionals and older adults understand both how and why success entails fidelity to certain key elements of person-centered approaches,” said Steven R. Counsell, M.D., president of AGS. 

Research findings, an expert panel statement and a commentary are available at no charge online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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