Person-Centered Care: A Definition and Essential Elements

Key Questions Answered
  • What is person-centered care?
  • What are the key elements of person-centered care?
  • What are the biggest barriers to achieving the goals of person-centered care?
Key Themes and Takeaways

This resource provides a definition and essential elements of person-centered care, based on a national consensus of a team from the American Geriatrics Society in collaboration with a team from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

  • There is no consensus about what exactly constitutes person-centered care. The lack of clear definitions and terminology makes it harder to implement and spread.
  • This resource defines person-centered care as care in which individuals’ values and preferences guide all aspects of their health care, supporting their realistic health and life goals.
  • Essential elements include: an individualized, goal-oriented care plan based on the person’s preferences; ongoing review of the person’s goals and care plan; care supported by an interprofessional team; one lead point of contact on the team; active coordination among all health care and supportive service providers; and performance measurement using feedback from the person and caregivers.
  • Major barriers include: inconsistent terminology; traditional approaches to clinical practice; physician workload; and misaligned financial incentives.


The American Geriatrics Society Expert Panel on Person-Centered Care
Population Addressed
Frail Older Adults
People with Multiple Chronic Conditions
Level of Evidence
Non-systematic Review (without Evidence Grading)
Uploaded to The Playbook