Holistic care focuses on treating the patient as a whole rather than treating only the illness. Much of hospice revolves around symptom management through medication and other medical support. A holistic approach optimizes care and quality of life by including treatment for emotional, social, mental, and spiritual health.
Holistic care addresses a wide variety of illnesses, symptoms, and complications. It involves 5 key areas of treatment: physical, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual.
To treat physical symptoms is to treat the body. This can include medication, physical therapy, or exercise. Sometimes, physical symptoms can even be treated by the use of alternative medicines like acupuncture or massage therapy, depending on a patient’s ailments.
Emotional needs have a large impact on a person’s overall health. Issues like depression or anxiety can actually worsen a patient’s physical symptoms. To address emotional needs, a caregiver may use medication or therapy.
Social support is important to a person’s health whether they’re receiving hospice care or no care at all. People, by nature, are social creatures. Addressing social needs can help patients stay happy and maintain high spirits. Family involvement and support is vital.
Related: What is Palliative Care?
Mental health includes doing things that keep a patient’s mind sharp and healthy. It’s about keeping cognitive abilities functioning properly. Mental health can be supported through simple activities like reading.
Spiritual care includes anything that fosters a sense of meaning or connection with the universe. For some, it’s praying or attending a religious service. To others, it can mean meditating, or enjoying the outdoors to connect with nature.
More health professionals are choosing a holistic approach to caring for their patients. Holistic care can significantly increase a patient’s quality of life while they’re receiving other hospice care and services.
Families and loved ones also benefit from holistic care in hospice. But, how? Through counseling, bereavement, and other social and emotional support. A patient’s family is also important to a care plan. If the family receives support, then they’ll be better equipped to give support.
Need more help? Then start with these great resources:
If you’re a family caregiver, then read this simple guide: Providing Home Care To A Family Member
Originally published July 15, 2022