Why Long-Term Care Needs a Quality, Person-Centered Care Network

Updated October 30, 2023
Key Takeaways

A person-centered care network can elevate standards across the industry, raising the bar for long-term care. This model opens the door for more personalized care, offers essential support to providers, streamlines the care-seeking process, and enhances provider visibility and credibility.

By some measures, these may seem like the worst of times for long-term care. Nursing homes are getting a bad rap, staff turnover is high, Medicare cuts are looming, and demand for long-term care services is far outpacing the staffing levels needed to meet them. Yet there is another trend riding alongside all this that may make these the best of times, and we in long-term care should seize the moment. 

That trend is the movement toward person-centered care, a model of care that has been gaining ground in recent years as long-term care providers seek ways to improve the care they provide. Person-centered care is a standard of care that looks beyond safety to also integrate a person's values, preferences, and goals into the care they receive. It ties quality of care to quality of life to engage care recipients and improve outcomes. It raises the bar for long-term care considerably.

Existing standards don’t reflect the true values of today’s older adults

Current standards weigh heavily on the side of safety metrics, although the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has begun to embrace person-centered care, elements of which are included in the CMS Minimum Data Set (MDS). 

Generally, however, current standards are lighter on measures that recognize personal values and preferences, and they don’t address in-home personal care and assisted living. That’s not going to cut it going forward.

Increasingly, today’s older adults want to age in place and get more out of life, and coming generations will insist on maintaining a meaningful quality of life that matches their values as they age.

Something needs to change, and someone needs to change it. CareScout’s Quality Network of person-centered care providers could very well lead the way.

A new kind of network for a new standard of care

A quality network championing person-centered care is a new idea designed to meet the growing demand for care that helps care recipients live their best lives, on their terms. 

Consumers aren’t the only ones who will benefit, however. Providers and the long-term care industry as a whole stand to benefit from a person-centered care focused network as well. Here’s how: 

It moves the industry beyond traditional and “one size fits all” plans of care

Person-centered care sets a new and innovative standard for long-term care. Think of it as a North Star for quality—not the only standard of quality, but an important one that stresses personal fulfillment and well-being to help improve outcomes.

Person-centered care is based on who the person is rather than what health issue or condition they present. What they enjoy wearing, which foods they love to eat, and what they hope to do with the rest of their lives are as important to their care plan as medication management.

It supports providers who care enough to invest in person-centered care

A network provides an infrastructure for continued assessment and improvement of person-centered care.

For example, the CareScout Quality Network has launched a person-centered care education and survey program that provides training, collaboration, and evaluation around person-centered care practices — and then elevates providers for meeting carefully defined person-centered care standards. 

The program establishes a real-world baseline from which to make real-world improvement. 

It can become the go-to source for reliable information on long-term care

For years now, patients have been showing up at their doctors’ offices with piles of web articles found through Google searches — because care recipients and their families want to understand care options and to be involved in developing their care plan. 

They also want to ensure their care is based on their values, goals, and preferences — not just what their provider says is best. Since not all downloaded care information is dependable, patients struggle to sort fact from fiction. A network focused on person-centered care can become a trusted source. 

It provides meaningful, objective ratings

Person-centered networks provide valuable insight into care beyond traditional measurements of quality and safety. Both providers and care seekers deserve a better way to measure quality, and care seekers deserve objective measures they can trust when searching for the right care options. 

A quality network makes this possible: Our rating program measures quality of care by surveying those most affected by the care experience: residents, clients, and staff. This provides objective data that results in quality ratings that are meaningful, believable, and verifiable. 

It includes home care

Current quality standards are for nursing homes, hospital swing beds, and home health care. A quality long-term care network that includes home care and assisted living providers sets a standard across the board—an important distinction given that both in-home personal care and assisted living increasingly are taking on higher-acuity referrals. 

It simplifies the care-seeking experience

A quality network can make it much easier for care seekers to navigate the long-term care system and find the right care options. 

Rather than start from scratch and Google all providers in their region, for example, individuals and family members could consult a quality network’s app or online search to narrow their search and choose from those providers already vetted for quality. 

It supports staff on the front lines

A quality network can offer guidance to caregiver staff to help them integrate client choice when developing care plans, and do it transparently. 

For example, our CareScout Quality Care Academy offers curated person-centered care training to staff in the form of online continuing education.

The curriculum includes modules for administrators, clinicians, caregivers, HHAs, and CNAs. For caregivers, these modules supplement or replace current training programs to help meet compliance and CEU needs. 

It creates a provider “support group”

A quality network establishes a community of visionary providers committed to person-centered care so no provider has to go it alone. This community can create opportunities for professional collaboration, shared learning, and peer-to-peer moral support. 

It makes person-centered care providers more visible—and differentiates them from competitors

A quality network increases the visibility of providers and makes them more desirable to care seekers. It spotlights their focus on person-centered care so that more care seekers are aware of their focus.  

All of this can help providers build their businesses and keep quality long-term care viable and sustainable.

It’s time to choose person-centered care

The long-term care system has come to a crossroads, where the choice is between continuing to struggle under the status quo or innovating in pursuit of the North Star of quality—person-centered care. 

By joining together, united by commitment to care where a person’s values and beliefs impact the care plan in concert with professional judgment, long-term care providers can help transform our industry. 

Our clients, residents, and patients have been clamoring for this. They, and we, deserve better.

Looking for quality care near you?

Every provider in the CareScout Quality Network has met rigorous quality standards and is committed to person-centered care. Search our network to find a provider who meets your needs.

Written by

Philip Gillich, MPH

Philip has more than 20 years of experience working with the provider community as well as payors. He is regarded as an industry authority with substantial credentials on best practices to advance value-based care, align best practices for population health, and accelerate person-centered care. H...

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