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Care of the Aging Patient: From Evidence to Action
Clinician's Corner
November 3, 2010

Comprehensive Primary Care for Older Patients With Multiple Chronic Conditions: “Nobody Rushes You Through”

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland (Dr Boult); Palmetto Health Richland Hospital, Columbia, South Carolina (Dr Wieland).

JAMA. 2010;304(17):1936-1943. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1623

Older patients with multiple chronic health conditions and complex health care needs often receive care that is fragmented, incomplete, inefficient, and ineffective. This article describes the case of an older woman whose case cannot be managed effectively through the customary approach of simply diagnosing and treating her individual diseases. Based on expert consensus about the available evidence, this article identifies 4 proactive, continuous processes that can substantially improve the primary care of community-dwelling older patients who have multiple chronic conditions: comprehensive assessment, evidence-based care planning and monitoring, promotion of patients' and (family caregivers’) active engagement in care, and coordination of professionals in care of the patient—all tailored to the patient's goals and preferences. Three models of chronic care that include these processes and that appear to improve some aspects of the effectiveness and the efficiency of complex primary care—the Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) model, Guided Care, and the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)—are described briefly, and steps toward their implementation are discussed.

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