Achieving high-quality, cost-effective medical care remains an elusive goal of the US health care
system, but there is widespread agreement that patient-centered care will be a key ingredient.1 Yet for frail elders and patients with advanced illness, many of
whom have multiple chronic diseases, patient-centered care is impossible without caregiver
involvement. Although advocacy groups such as the National Alliance for Caregivers have long
endorsed attention to family members and prominent research organizations such as the newly created
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute mention families in their research agendas, the
critical role of caregivers deserves considerably more attention from clinicians.
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