Whole person means your health and wellness are not limited to your physical health but on the well-being of you as the whole person. We now know that there are several areas that contribute to wellness for all of us, such as emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, and physical health. It also means that you have a partnership role with your health care provider in deciding the best ways to achieve and maintain your well-being. This partnership is essential for your doctor to understand your uniqueness and how circumstances and events in your life make it easier or harder to be healthy. This person-centered approach is also essential so that the care you are receiving fits with your day to day life, which makes it more likely to be successful. Another important feature of ‘whole person’ care is that it includes health and wellness promotion that builds each person’s resiliency, as well as prevention so that health concerns are identified and addressed early.
WHOLE PERSON + INTEGRATED CARE + COMMUNITY HEALTH = Whole Person Integrated Care
Integrated Care means most of your health needs can be met at one location, during one appointment. Scheduling an appointment to see your health care provider can be stressful. Often, we are forced to take the only available opening, usually weeks down the road, which means we must make our typical schedule fit around this appointment. We need to make sure we can get the time off at work. We must plan to miss work if we don’t have vacation or sick pay benefits. We need to arrange transportation to and from the appointment. And we need to make sure that someone takes care of the kids after they get off the bus. What makes things worse, we go through this for each of the professionals we see. I need an appointment for a therapist, and one for my general doctor, and one for the psychiatrist, and then one for my physical health issues.
Now, imagine talking to your doctor about your high blood pressure, who then connects you to a behavioral health specialist in the building and shares his concerns about your health with you and the specialist. Then imagine that you work together to identify issues in your life that can be contributing to your high blood pressure, such as financial stress and anxiety. Again, working as a team, the specialist connects you with the in-house community navigator, an individual that actively supports you in obtaining assistance through community resources that can help you relieve some of your key financial stressors like paying utility bills and child care. This is the integration of services making the whole you well, from treating you to helping you reduce challenges that stand in the way of your health and wellness. That’s the type of community health we envision.
Want to Learn More?
Partners is beginning to implement the Whole Person Integrated Care Model at its Integrated Care Centers:
- Burke Integrated Health
- Gaston Complete Health
- Impact Health of Iredell
More information about Whole Person Integrated Care is available in the white paper, “Whole Person Integrated Care Model: Advancing the Quadruple Aim and Community Wellness”.