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Vitalize 360: A Model of Person-Centered Care

September 12, 2016 | |

At Connected for Life, we believe that meaningful engagement and resulting wellbeing exists in multiple dimensions: social, emotional, physical, spiritual, occupational, environmental, intellectual and cultural.

This philosophy drives the spirit of community and engagement that is at the core of Connected for Life. Your healthy aging plan will serve to identify your passions, new opportunities and lasting connections with your community, friends and family. 

Vitalize 360 is the tool that is used to design and develop an individualized plan for healthy aging, using art and science to promote optimal wellness. The approach uses shared information, coupled with person-directed coaching (using evidence-based research) to inspire participants toward setting and reaching their goals.

These may be personal goals that members have already established and that are in process, or new goals that are recognized through conversations with your Care Coordinator. Members may choose to pursue their goals independently, or with coaching support and through regular meetings with their Care Coordinator.

Vitalize 360 was developed through a joint venture between Hebrew Senior Life and Kendal Corporation. The program is designed to develop engaged communities of people who embrace wellbeing, person-directed services, quality and continuous learning.


Below is a question and answer discussion with Elizabeth Howard, an associate professor at Northeastern's School of Nursing in Boston, and one of the principle investigators in this study. This interview can also be found on the Kendal.org blog.

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

Elizabeth Howard: 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?

EH: 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?

EH: 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?

EH: 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?

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

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