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  • Karen McPhail, RN, MSN., CDP

What is Person Centered Care?

Those working in the healthcare industry often use the term patient centered care, but what does this mean and of how is this concept truly implemented and supported by those in the field? What are the essentials of person centered care? How can person centered care help me or my loved one navigate challenges effectively?

Person Centered care is the idea that an individuals perspective, goals, and values should be at the forefront of their medical care. Listening is key and expressed wishes guide this process! The IOM (Institute of Medicine) defines patient-centered care as: “Providing care that is respectful of, and responsive to, individual patient preferences, needs and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions. This method focuses on providing thoughtful, systematic, and detailed, approaches to a patient’s health plan. It is now being recognized that placing the patient at the center is one of the most effective ways to promote quality and positive health outcomes.

Care Managers have promoted person-centered care in their own field for decades, working closely with clients and families to create care plans that have the client’s goals as the primary focus. Care managers help older adults and other individuals with chronic conditions or disabilities to navigate systems and be linked to resources and programs needed to effectively support their desired care path and long term plan. This can be done in a variety of ways including by involving private duty caregivers so that a client can continue to age in place, using skilled nursing services to promote safe mobility and independence, or through finding the right assisted living community to support their changing needs. Care Managers can help families who need a variety of services, including:

Physical and Mental Health – From chronic conditions management to functional difficulties and mental health and dementia-related challenges, Care Managers navigate health processes and interface with others in the health care system effectively and in a systematic manner to ensure quality outcomes. Care managers expedite care and facilitate communication between physicians and other health care providers, clients, and family.

Financial – Services provided by Care Managers may include long term care planning, reviewing or overseeing bill paying or consulting with a client’s accountant or Power of Attorney. Care Managers provide information on Federal and state entitlements, linking families to local programs when appropriate. They also assist clients and families with LTC and general insurance, claims, and applications.

Housing – Care Managers help families and clients evaluate and select appropriate level of housing or residential options age in place.

Families – Care Managers help families with conflict resolution, adjustment, coping and problem solving both long-distance and in-home caregiving, addressing care concerns, resistance to care, internal or family conflicts and differences of opinion about long-term care planning.

Local Resources – Care Managers advise on local resources in their communities and help connect clients with appropriate services.

Advocacy – Advocacy is becoming even more important for care managers as ageism is everywhere and prevalent in some areas of health care. Care Managers are strong and effective advocates for clients and their families, promoting client wishes relating to health care and other providers, ensuring that client needs are respectfully, effectively, and appropriately met.

Legal – Care Managers refer to and collaborate with legal experts, such as elder care attorneys, and estate planners. Some care managers provide expert opinion for courts in determining level of care and establishing client needs. Many who specialize in cognitive impairment will be called upon to complete detailed cognitive evaluations to serve as a guide going forward and for reference before executing legal documents.

Crisis Intervention – Aging Life Care Managers offer crisis intervention when it is needed by helping clients navigate through mental health emergencies, emergency departments and hospitalizations, rehabilitation stays, and by ensuring that adequate care is available to the client. For families that live at a distance, this can be an essential 24/7 emergency contact and patient advocate!

If you or your loved one needs care management services, reach out via our contacts tab today!




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