The University of Maine Center on Aging and The Cedars, a Portland, Maine based older adult community, are partnering on a national project, funded by The Mayer-Rothschild Foundation, to identify the fundamental characteristics of person-centered care in long-term care settings including nursing homes and assisted living communities and incorporate them into a Designation of Excellence standard. Unlike traditional research in this arena, the study of person-centered care will be driven by residents and family members, long-term care leaders and staff, prospective consumers of long-term care, and academic partners.

The project is guided by a Steering Committee of long-term care stakeholders and a National Blue Ribbon Panel of experts in long-term care policy and service delivery. The project has completed its first year of a comprehensive review of the literature and collecting data from residents currently living in long term care settings, long-term administrators and senior leadership in communities across the country, and long-term care staff.

In Year Two, the project team is looking ahead to analyzing the data collected in Year One and integrating it into an emerging Designation of Excellence framework while working closely with six long-term care communities for review and feedback. Additional data will be collected from older adults across the country about their views and expectations of long-term care.

 “This is an opportunity to bring the voices of residents, family members, staff, and leadership to how long-term care communities provide person-centered care every day. The Designation of Excellence will offer a meaningful and practical way for long-term care settings to show the consuming public their commitment to best practices. The project has the potential to impact long-term care policy in the coming years”, says Mary Lou Ciolfi, the Program Manager at the University of Maine Center on Aging who is working on the project. Ciolfi is a former long-term care administrator with experience in aging services policy and research.

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