Person-Centered Care Is the Future

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The Mayer-Rothschild Designation of Excellence in Person-Centered Long-Term Care Seeks Participation from Across the United States

The Mayer-Rothschild Foundation Designation of Excellence in Person-Centered Long-Term Care Award is developing a new national standard of person-centered excellence in the design and implementation of residential care for older adults. This four-phase project will ultimately offer a blueprint for all organizations offering residential care, honoring Dr. Robert Nathan Mayer’s vision of always recognizing the critical importance of “listening to the voice of those receiving care.”


Project goals and design

In this first phase, The University of Maine Center on Aging, and The Cedars in Portland, Maine, a nonprofit older adult community, are currently identifying and refining a broad framework representing a variety of person-centered care domains. Over the last several months, the University of Maine Center on Aging and The Cedars have embarked on an exploratory effort of planning and discovery to identify and document the fundamental tenets of person-centered care in the long-term care setting.

Unlike traditional research in this field, residents, family members, and direct care staff, as well as academic partners will largely drive the definition of person-centered care. The project’s research-driven process is grounded in a grassroots, bottom-up approach that explores the perspectives of those who experience care. This first phase relies heavily on principles of participatory action research that engages stakeholders closest to the research question and topic area. Additionally, our framework is dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion, as we strive to capture feedback from all stakeholders. Throughout the phase I process, all activities are conducted in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations and best practices for the prevention of spread of the Coronavirus.


The Research Project Process & Initiatives

Our project Steering Committee consists of board members, residents of both assisted and long-term care environments, family members, volunteers, community members, and direct care staff from across several departments. This dynamic and collaborative committee is updated monthly on the progress of our work and provides valuable feedback on such aspects of care as dignity of risk, autonomy and personhood, person-centered dining, meaningful life, and much more.

The project also utilizes a Blue-Ribbon Expert Panel comprised of national experts in the field of aging. The members of this panel will assist in the development of tools and frameworks for person-centered care and ensure that gaps are identified. Their expertise is crucial to the project’s primary goal of formulating a comprehensive final framework, or designation, for person-centered care in long-term care communities.

The University of Maine Center on Aging and The Cedars together represent a unique university-community dyad partnership and an innovative approach to the development of person-centered systems, methods, measures, tools, and processes that will represent best practices in long-term care. Phase I research activities include an ongoing literature review, a national message board activity, a national resident/resident representative survey, national organizational case studies, and staff focus groups.


Join the National Conversation

It is key that residents and family members drive this Designation of Excellence work. In order to do this, we need to hear residents’ voices. The project team is currently collecting resident perspectives and feedback through a nationwide message board activity. Informal conversations and message board postings will engage residents from across the country, the very people who receive and experience person-centered care in assisted living and long-term care homes. This initiative is one of several different ways that the project team will arrive at a better understanding of residents’ wishes and priorities for their living environment, their care, their socialization, and their interactions with staff and other residents. To participate in this activity, visit the project website at


The Final Purpose – A Designation Framework

At the end of this four-year and four phase process, a Designation of Excellence in Person-Centered Long-Term Care will be launched to inform and educate the public about best practices in long-term care communities. A further goal is creating awareness about the need for more person-centered care, which will thereby create more demand for that high-quality person-centered care. This certification will ultimately serve as an industry measure to recognize behaviors and practices that embody excellence, and are person-centered in design, delivery, and outcomes, and promote older adult care settings that widely accept and implement these practices. Ultimately, The Mayer-Rothschild Designation of Excellence in Person Centered Long-Term Care will become a touchstone for the long-term care field and provide a transparent way for the public to assess excellence and person-centered practices and values at these care communities. We ask that all stakeholders in long-term care and assisted living communities help us define person-centered care by joining the conversation and participating in our initiatives – the future is person-centered.


Read the full press release from the foundation at

Learn more about our team and initiatives at

5 comments on “Person-Centered Care Is the Future

  1. Bob Konrad on

    Given the range of diversity in terms of social class and ethnicity of residential communities for older and disabled persons it might be helpful to make sure that any classification or ranking of these communities recognize the actual fact that the composition of the clientele can affect how well resourced an organization is and how inclusiveness and equity fits into “person-centeredness”

    It might be useful to consider a specific award or designation for communities/facilities that have demonstrated that they can go beyond the minimum to make sure that residents who have survived the challenges socio-economic hardships and/or racial or ethnic discrimination are well-treated as persons.

    Just a thought!

  2. donna k woodward on

    Person-centered care has been the gold standard of care in LTC homes. for decades. Virtually all LTC communities now claim to aspire to this level of care. In the last year, this blog has presented a variety of approaches to improving elder-care. Rahzeb Choudhury proposed a number of ways of measuring nursing home quality. The Live Oak Project set out the guiding principles they believe will transform the long-term care system. Some have suggested hospitality solutions as a way toward improving care. We’ve seen an updated versions of the Artifacts of Culture Change. The Eden Alternative defines its goals in terms of the domains of well-being. Now the Mayer-Rothschild Foundation endeavors —if I’ve underwood this correctly—to develop a new blueprint for long-term care homes to use to achieve person-centered care in their communities, and a standard by which to judge to what degree this is achieved.

    New ideas, new toolkits, new programs, new frameworks, new blueprints, new awards: Will any of these, however excellent, improve the quality of life for those living in long-term care homes if we don’t have the direct-care staff to implement our award-winning strategies? I want to climb onto the highest soapbox possible and shout “Enough!” Enough of solutions which don’t discuss staffing. Enough of proposals which offer ideas about everything but how to pay for adequate staffing so we can achieve the lofty goals we articulate. Any solution that doesn’t address this central question snake oil.

    • Cathy Lieblich on

      Thank you for your comments, Donna. Staffing is indeed an issue and we are constantly amazed at all of the care communities that we know that are able to practice person-centered care and implement the practices that are in the Artifacts of Culture Change tool without additional staff.

      • donna k. woodward on

        You see a broader spectrum of care, Cathy, and I I appreciate your input and your willingness to include to other points of view here. Thank you, Cathy.

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