Researchers Cite Vitalize 360 as ‘A Model of Person-Centered Care’

Vitalize 360 Outcomes Published

Vitalize 360 Outcomes Published in the Journal of Ageing Research and Healthcare

A team of researchers examined the outcomes of Vitalize 360 and the results were published in the July issue of the Journal of Ageing Research and Healthcare. The article, “COLLAGE 360: A Model of Person-Centered Care to Promote Health Among Older Adults” (COLLAGE 360 is now known as “Vitalize 360”), represents an important milestone in the development of Vitalize 360. Three key research findings included:

  1. A higher number of residents participating in Vitalize 360 reported that they were “delighted with their life” compared to CCRCs not offering the program (p=0.032);

  2. A higher percentage of Vitalize 360 residents, compared to a control group not participating, reported viewing their community as a “supportive” environment;

  3. Mood scores improved markedly, at one year follow-up, for the Vitalize 360 resident group. (It should be noted that 1- and 2-year comparisons demonstrated only moderately improved mood scores.)

The following is a Q & A discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Howard, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Northeastern University, Boston, and one of the principle investigators.

Q: How similar or different is this research project compared to other past research projects of yours?

A: This project focused on older adult residents from Continuing Care Communities. Most of my other intervention projects targeted older adults residing in subsidized housing. In all cases, my research studies elders who are living in a contained environment.

Q: Early in the article it’s noted that that the Institute for Medicine and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement support the idea that active participation of older adults in their own healthcare will be essential in the future, and that this has implications for cost reduction, health improvement and the experience of care. Can you elaborate on this? What’s makes this so challenging for the health care system?

A: In the U.S., the Affordable Care Act is an attempt to reform the health care delivery system. This reform aligns with the implications you cite, commonly referred to as the “Triple Aim” – improve the health of populations, improve the experience of care, and reduce costs (Berwick, Nolan & Whittington, 2008).

Currently, the health care system follows a disease and symptom management approach with limited or no time spent on the values and goals of an individual. Creating a person-centered approach to health care requires a major culture change and a concerted effort of all parties that regards the needs of person as a top priority.

Q: Please comment on the more salient outcomes that you found with this research. What makes this important and what are the implications for individuals and for organizations that work with older adults?

A: Vitalize 360 is a holistic process that truly embodies the person-centered approach to meeting the needs of a person. The most impressive outcome was the improvement in self-reported quality of life. When older adults regard their lives favorably, they are closer to achieving the goal of successful aging. In my view, high quality of life is paramount to any other outcomes, including control and management of disease states.

Q: Do you see Vitalize 360 as a value-added program for more than just CCRCs? What are the obstacles to other types of organizations launching the program successfully?

A: The comprehensive assessment system within Vitalize 360 is a valuable tool that is needed in the field of geriatrics. Unlike any other time in their lives, older adults face multiple challenges that extend beyond their current health status, and the assessment provides for a close examination of other key elements including depression, social isolation, loneliness and functional decline.

Modifications are needed to implement the coaching model into low-income housing sites. These settings have limited resources and external support requiring an exploration of creative, low-/no-cost options to support elders as they strive to achieve their life goals.

Q: What are some other research initiatives that you’re involved in or anticipate working on in 2017?

A: I plan to seek funding to examine alternate approaches to the coaching model as specified within Vitalize 360.

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