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AGS studies person-centered care definitions, quality scope

December 14, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Few terms have skyrocketed in popularity as has “person-centered care.” But what does the term really mean, and what type or level of care quality deserves to be called “person-centered”? The American Geriatrics Society (AGS), in collaboration with the University of Southern California (USC) and with support from The SCAN Foundation, tackled the questions in an attempt to better define the term and its key elements.

The group combined leading geriatrics research and literature reviews with interviews with senior care providers who say they provide person-centered care.  Although different organizations defined person-centered care in different ways, according to the findings of the project, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The key hallmarks of person-centered care are individualized care plans and the idea that it’s more of a culture than a program, the research team noted. “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, MD, FACP, President and Chief Executive Officer of The SCAN Foundation, in an AGS release. “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.”

Added Steven R. Counsell, MD, AGSF, AGS President:  “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.”