Tracking Progress on Person-Centered Care for Older Adults: How Are We Doing?

Person-centered care is essential to a high-quality system of care, emphasizing a holistic approach oriented around individuals’ goals and preferences.  Analyzing the 2014 and 2016 Health and Retirement Survey, we measure the extent to which older adults experience person-centered care, differences by race, income and other variables, and how receipt of person-centered care affects overall healthcare satisfaction and service utilization.  Roughly one-third of older adults report that their preferences were only rarely or sometimes taken into account.  Results vary greatly by race. One in four Hispanics report never having their preferences taken into account compared to roughly one in ten Whites and one in six Blacks.  When people’s preferences are ignored, they are more likely to forgo medical care and report lower satisfaction with the healthcare system.  New efforts are needed to strengthen and advance person-centered care, particularly for people of color and low-income populations.