Effect of a Whole-Person Model of Care on Patient Experience in Patients With Complex Chronic Illness in Late Life

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Abstract

Background:

Patients with serious chronic illness are at a greater risk of depersonalized, overmedicalized care as they move into later life. Existing intervention research on person-focused care for persons in this transitional period is limited.

Objective:

To test the effects of LifeCourse, a team-based, whole-person intervention emphasizing listening to and knowing patients, on patient experience at 6 months.

Design:

This is a quasi-experimental study with patients allocated to LifeCourse and comparison groups based on 2 geographic locations. Robust change-score regression models adjusted for baseline differences and confounding.

Setting/Participants:

Patients (113 intervention, 99 comparison in analyses) were individuals with heart failure or other serious chronic illness, cancer, or dementia who had visits to hospitals at a large multipractice health system in the United States Midwest.

Measurements:

Primary outcome was 6-month change in patient experience measured via a novel, validated 21-item patient experience tool developed specifically for this intervention. Covariates included demographics, comorbidity score, and primary diagnosis.

Results:

At 6 months, LifeCourse was associated with a moderate improvement in overall patient experience versus usual care. Individual domain subscales for care team, communication, and patient goals were not individually significant but trended positively in the direction of effect.

Conclusion:

Person-focused, team-based interventions can improve patient experience with care at a stage fraught with overmedicalization and many care needs. Improvement in patient experience in LifeCourse represents the sum effect of small improvements across different domains/aspects of care such as relationships with and work by the care team.

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