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 Rave Reviews Pour in For New Person-Centered Care Toolkit

A new model for measuring the ways providers deliver on their promises of person-centered care is getting early thumbs up in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA).
In 2013, the collective calling itself Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes began offering an Excel-based toolkit for measuring and tracking how well residents and patients are determining the course of their own care. The reviews are in, researchers say, and the toolkit is boffo.
“As of February 2014, over 700 nursing homes have selected the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes [person-centered care] goal as a focus for quality improvement,” Kimberly Van Haitsma writes for her colleagues. “The toolkit enables providers to incorporate quality improvement by moving beyond anecdote and advancing more systematically toward honoring resident preferences.”
Van Haitsma and her colleagues developed the toolkit for Advancing Excellence.
The Advancing Excellence survey has two parts. First, staff interview residents “about their preferences for personal care and recreational activities” and try “to gauge how satisfied residents are with the way their important preferences are addressed.” The interviews are supposed to “build on information already collected as part of the Minimum Data Set … by adding follow-up questions that ask residents how satisfied they are with the fulfillment of important preferences,” Van Haitsma says.

The resulting data are then plugged into an Excel workbook. “This workbook produces color-coded graphic displays showing when a resident’s preferences are being fully met (in green) and when preferences require follow-up (in yellow or red),” Van Haitsma says. “Also, the Excel workbook can show preference gaps affecting many persons residing together in a household, floor, or unit.”
“The output,” Van Haitsma says, “allows staff to see at a glance particular preferences that are not being met for several individuals living in a common location. Staff can use the results as the basis for discussion and problem solving during individual care planning conferences, as well as to develop broader strategies for improvement.”
Having surveyed staff in the centers where the toolkit has been tested, Van Heitsma and her colleagues say that “staff gave strong positive ratings.” They published their findings in the latest issue of JAMDA.
In a separate opinion piece in the same issue, Vanderbilt School of Medicine Professor Sandra Simmons and Veterans Affairs geriatric researcher Anna Rahman say that the Van Heitsma toolkit “could not be more timely.”
Given that person-centered care is now the “true north” of all quality goals, and given the “rush of incentives and initiatives” from within the profession and from regulators or policymakers, “there is a lot to like about the toolkit as a means for nursing home providers to measure their progress,” Simmons and Rahman say.
That doesn’t mean that the broader culture change required for person-centered care will be attained merely by plugging into Excel, though, Simmons and Rahman say. It’s “just one step toward a much larger goal.”
Person-centered care, they say, “is not evidenced by completed toolkit worksheets; rather, it should be demonstrated by observable changes in daily care practice.”
Advancing Excellence’s toolkit can be downloaded for free here.
Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.
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