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Expert Panel Offers Definition of “Person-Centered Care”

December 16, 2015

A panel of long-term care experts convened by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) has released its definition of the term “person-centered care.”

Used increasingly in long-term eldercare in recent years, “person-centered care” nevertheless has lacked a standard definition, the panel wrote in an accompanying article in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The AGS panel — which comprises 14 experts from the fields of gerontology, long-term care delivery, geriatric medicine, and others — established a definition following numerous rounds of editing:

“Person-centered care” means that individuals’ values and preferences are elicited and, once expressed, guide all aspects of their health care, supporting their realistic health and life goals. Person-centered care is achieved through a dynamic relationship among individuals, others who are important to them, and all relevant providers.

The definition is “intended for use by healthcare providers, administrators, researchers, regulators, policymakers, and consumer advocates,” the panel wrote.

The panel also formulated a list of “elements essential to realizing this definition” as well as a list of barriers to the successful implementation of values consistent with person-centered care.

Some of the barriers listed — including “provider concerns for risk and safety” — echo the barriers identified in PHI’s One Vision: Moving Forward initiative, which sought to identify and overcome barriers to person-centered practices in Michigan’s skilled nursing facilities.

The AGS panel worked in collaboration with the University of Southern California‘s Keck School of Medicine and receive financial support from The SCAN Foundation.

— by Matthew Ozga

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