A Holistic Approach to Home Health Care

Angels There For You™ embraces the philosophy that human beings are made up of spirit, soul (mind, will and emotions) and body.  We believe that it is important to meet the needs of the whole person as this leads to better health outcomes.  Physical needs are only part of the picture.  If we focus on only helping to bring healing to the body, care becomes task oriented and no longer client-centered.  Various studies have proven that the mind and spirit have a powerful effect on the body.  When thoughts and emotions are toxic, the body cannot heal.  According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, a specialist in the study of the brain, “87% to 95% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life.  What we think about affects us physically and emotionally.  It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions.”

The body has an innate ability to heal itself.  Various systems in the body have checks and balances that constantly keep the body in homeostasis.  The word “homeostasis” is derived from the Greek “homeo” (meaning “constant”) and “stasis” (meaning stable).  This is the constant goal of the body.  When this balance is disrupted, sickness or disease sets in.  The caregiver’s task is to help to restore this balance through holistic care.

The holistic approach is not new to the health care industry.  In fact, the holistic approach stems from Florence Nightingale, who is considered to be one of the first holistic nurses.  She believed that care needed to be “focused on unity, wellness and the interrelationship of human beings and their environment”.  That legacy has shaped the nursing profession over the years.  Today, according to the American Holistic Nurses’ Association, holistic nursing is “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal.”

Offering holistic care operates on the belief that all areas of a person’s life must be in balance in order to reach optimum levels of health.  Providing holistic care combines nursing knowledge and theories with complementary modalities in order to treat the physical, mental and spiritual areas of a patient’s life.  The person is treated – not just their symptoms.

What does the holistic approach look like in practical terms? 

When approaching the care of a client, the first step in providing holistic care is to establish a therapeutic, caring relationship that is client-centered.  This is essential to the building of trust between the client and caregiver.  Once trust has been established, honest and open communication then enables the caregiver to determine the client’s preferences for care, cultural environment and emotional well-being.

Once this therapeutic relationship of trust has been established, the second step in providing holistic care is ministering to the needs of the client by allowing the client to vent and share their heartfelt fears, anxieties and frustrations.  The caregiver is then able to provide an empathetic, listening ear and, sometimes, even a shoulder to cry on.  The offering of sincere praise, encouragement, appreciation, love and hope is the foundation of true care.

Other powerful resources for healing are music, massage and healing touch, aromatherapy, laughter and fruitful mental and physical activity.  A stimulating conversation, reminiscing, creating a photo album or a scrapbook of memories for children and grandchildren, going for a walk or a simply sharing a cup of tea with their caregiver are all ways in which an adult can be productive and add enrichment to their lives.

When life is enjoyed and perceived as worth living, it goes a long way towards enabling the body to heal and restore function.