Patient-centered care is a growing movement among health care providers that focuses on improving patients’ clinical outcomes and satisfaction rates through improving the quality of the doctor-patient relationship.

It is a far departure from physician-dominated care, which includes tools such as the Harris Hip Score, a grading system employed by orthopedic surgeons to determine the success of total hip replacements that answers questions important to doctors but doesn’t ask anything about patient satisfaction.

The VA has a model of care called Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT), which employs the principles of patient-centered care, including respect for patient’s values, preferences and expressed needs; coordination and integration of care among team members; and access to care using diverse methods.

But with almost 10 million veterans soon to be older than 65, the VA designed PACT teams customized for seniors. Known as a Geriatric Patient Aligned Care Team (GeriPACT), these health care teams provide patient-centered care for older and chronically ill veterans with complicated health problems.

Who Is Eligible?

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GeriPACT is eligible for veterans with:

  • More than one complex chronic disease;
  • Dementia or cognitive decline; or
  • Geriatric syndromes such as frailty, frequent falls, incontinence and multiple medications.

What Services Does GeriPACT Provide?

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“The thing that makes GeriPACT a little bit different from primary care is that with elders you have to be more interdisciplinary as far as what team members you involve,” says Trishana W. Glover, director of the Geriatric Evaluation and Management Program at the Richmond VA Medical Center. “The GeriPACT is designed to have huddles with patients, and it includes the primary care provider, the nurse, the pharmacist, the social worker as needed. It’s designed to discuss those patients who are going to be a challenge.”

Through shared decision-making, integration and coordination of health care services provided by VA with community-based services, and access to health care providers with advanced training in the issues of seniors, GeriPACT optimizes independence and quality of life of elderly veterans.

GeriPACT is offered in about two-thirds of VA medical centers. To find out if you or your loved one might benefit from GeriPACT, schedule a geriatric assessment with your health care provider today.

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