In the United States, low life expectancy is rising due to unresolved chronic mental conditions and other recurring illnesses. Low clinician to patient ratios make diagnosis difficult.
Whole-person care broadly covers the emotional aspects of health as well as social and economic barriers to well-being. Not surprisingly, in the midst of all the information about holistic effectiveness, there are misconceptions about this type of wellness.
Whole-person care is somewhat of a controversial topic these days. Connotations of employee wellness programs gone wrong and images of snake oil salesmen may come to mind for many - both patients and healthcare providers.
When it comes to behavior change, patients face countless influences - both from within and from without. These external and internal factors create a wide spectrum of challenges in developing better habits.
Human beings are complex. Not only do we have a physical and emotional side, but all facets of our being are intertwined with each other. The emotional state affects the mental, and the mental influences the physical, and so on and so forth. Psychologists have grappled with these human complexities for centuries, proposing many theories along the way.
Health care has traditionally been focused on treating the disease. Even today, chronic disease patients have access to treatments and interventions that can lengthen their lives.
While much is being written on the topic, the concept of whole person wellness is hard to define. Some refer to it as “quality of life.” Others refer to it as the presence of positive emotions or moods and even satisfaction with life.
Among the many crises facing U.S. healthcare, the upward trend of diabetes and chronic disease is a major concern. While healthcare needs to continue treating and addressing diabetes, they also need to address contributing factors with the same vigor.
In recent years diabetes has skyrocketed. About 9.4% of the American population currently has diabetes. While that percentage is staggering, the numbers will only rise further. Another 84.1 million people have pre-diabetes, meaning diabetes is set to explode nationwide.
In the battle against chronic conditions, healthcare must introduce measures for behavior change. This is an uphill battle though. Patients struggle to stay engaged in their own health, in part because in the past they were not allowed an active role. Clinicians were the experts and patients let them make most of their health decisions.