Person-centred care in aging populations in the Kristiansen Group

The primary goal of the interdisciplinary research conducted in this group is to enhance person-centred, diversity-sensitive healthcare provision in the context of population aging. This will contribute towards addressing societal challenges as well as opportunities caused by population aging that has implications for healthcare policy and practice.

Person-centred care in aging populations in the Kristiansen Group

Research focus

In order to identify innovative approaches to ensuring healthcare services that are accessible, acceptable and of high quality for the increasing number of older adults, we work within an overall frame of interdisciplinary, multi-methods and co-created science.

Studies are often co-created with key societal partners, e.g. municipalities, hospitals, patient associations, entrepreneurs and international organizations, to enhance relevance and transferability.

“There is a need for insight into how healthcare services can accommodate for the growing number of persons living longer lives in longevity but also with functional decline and diseases. Person-centred and coordinated care that is sensitive to diversity in older adults – e.g. related to type of disease, gender, socioeconomic background or ethnicity – is important, also from a societal perspective. We aim to understand needs of citizens, patients, relatives and healthcare providers, and to help identify innovative approaches for future care delivery,” says Associate professor and Group Leader Maria Kristiansen.

We focus on multimorbidity as a key challenge but also on specific diseases of key importance to aging populations, in particular cardiovascular diseases, cancers, Parkinson’s disease and Age-related Macular Degeneration.

Main findings

  • A key finding across most disease categories is the importance of addressing inequity in access to and quality of healthcare for older adults, in particular those living with multimorbidity. The ability to negotiate care that is timely, acceptable and person-centred is shaped by a range of individual (e.g. socioeconomic background, gender, social networks) but also system-related factors (e.g. time, mono- or multidisciplinary teams, competencies in patient-engagement) as well as overall policies on disease specific care trajectories.

  • Variations in health behaviours, disease patterns, well-being and psychosocial circumstances among older migrants and refugees in Europe have implications for adaptation of supportive environments and healthcare services. In particular, informal barriers (e.g. language barriers, lack of awareness of available services) and structural constraints (related to availability, timing and distance) affect access to timely, coordinated and person-centred health and long-term care services for older refugees and migrants. Diversity-sensitive policies and practices are therefore needed across the range of health and long-term care sectors for older adults.

  • Interventions adapted to specific target groups and settings hold potentials to enhance person-centred healthcare and well-being at old age. Examples have been developed, implemented and evaluated for process and short-term outcomes. This includes community-based participatory approaches to enhance health, well-being and social relations in a so-called deprived housing community undergoing large-scale structural changes. Other examples include preventive home visits targeted to ethnic minorities and ethnic Danes in social housing areas; narrative approaches to enhance social relations among residents at nursing homes; and organizational and technological changes to facilitate coordinated care for frail older adults under and following hospital admissions.