Wholly Holistic Patient Care: Why Caring for the Whole Patient Matters
Have you ever watched fitness professionals? Powerhouse individuals whose tone and definition defy reality? Able to lift, run, move and bend their bodies to the contour of their mind? One has to wonder – where on earth does the capacity for that strength come from? Iron Grit? Power of Mind? Insane Diet Regimen? Whatever the tactic, whenever you ask a true fitness maven their secret, the answer is always the same – it’s the Core.
Somewhere along the way, their Core was broken. A fragmented shell of their former selves remains, waiting to be reshaped. Many will try the latest treatments, greatest fads, and yet, they still cannot find a way to put the Humpty Dumpty of their broken selves back together again.
This is where Whole Patient Holistic care comes in. Holistic care is multidisciplinary – meaning it factors in not only the substance of addiction, but the entire environment surrounding those battling the disease. It dares to ask the dangerous questions – What is their home life like? What dangers and triggers can be found within arm’s reach or mere steps down the road? What relationships, healthy or hostile, play a factor in the success of an individual’s healing journey? What medical concerns exist that factor into the inability to “just stop?”
Holistic care is collaborative, calibrated care – giving intentional conversation to 4 main facets of a human trapped by addiction: Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit. In the Mind, what mental health battles rage on to prevent healing to occur? What education about the disease of addiction needs a little “enlightening”? In the Body, what treated, untreated, diagnosed or undiagnosed factors are at play? In the Heart, what desires and motivations are in a head to head rumble against the ability to cope with adversity? In the Spirit, what internal confidence needs to be regained to face life with intentionality again? Wholly holistic patient care takes a transparent look at each individual and digs below the surface – seeking the root cause beyond the results of a blood test. It asks the critical “Why” the individual even faces the battle of addiction in the first place, instead of placing a band-aid on the symptoms and releasing back to the world – Body intact, yet Core still broken.
Whole Patient care knows the difference between healing and curing. While there is no cure for addiction, there is an opportunity to restore someone to wholeness again, meanwhile setting them up for success with a call to action. It allows the patient to unpack the inside, look at the broken pieces of their Core, identify their cause, and create a salve for the broken soul. Healing is an inside matter, long before it can be a successful on the outside.
So, what can a patient do to ensure they are receiving Whole Patient Holistic care? Let’s look at this in two phases – during treatment and after treatment.
During treatment, be sure to ask:
- Is this care individualized to my specific needs?
- Does this care account for recovery needs, beyond medical?
- Does this care create an atmosphere for dual-diagnosis, looking beyond the substance to the person?
- Does this care address the picture of my life as a whole?
After treatment, use the following skills and behavior to set yourself up for success:
- Set the Expectation: Make sure those in your environment know what you need – and don’t need – as you walk through recovery.
- Be Intentional: Plan your life! What does the next day, week and month look like? Visualize your plan of action to regain yourself.
- Give your “Best Yes” and your Critical No: Author Lysa TerKeurst says in her book “The Best Yes” – “Can this fit physically, spiritually, financially, emotionally?… If I spend resources I don’t have, I will eventually bankrupt myself…I know the danger of getting emotionally bankrupt and it is ugly!” In recovery, one must remember that it is okay to say No – protect that precious, newly rebuilt Core until it is strong enough to give the yes.
- Develop Outlets for Self-Care: What care can connect with you on all 4 facets – Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit? Is it connecting creatively through music or art therapy, as you did in treatment? Is it connecting in nature? A conversation with a trusted sponsor? Ensure that as you leave treatment, you identify methods of continuing your Wholly Holistic care in your day to day environment.
Wholly Holistic care crafts a path to healing, enveloping the patient Mind, Body, Heart and Spirit. It allows one to embrace and unpack the inside core, so its finally possible to truly heal the outside body.