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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Holistic Caregiving - Meeting Mental, Physical, and Spiritual Needs

Holistic care, also called comprehensive care, means meeting the physical, emotional, social, economic, and spiritual needs, as defined in Holistic Health Care in Nursing, by Heather K. Sipes, Psychology, Missouri Western State University. Family caregivers and paid caregivers in home care are often meeting a variety of holistic needs. It is never just one health condition that needs care, but the total person.

At Michael Jankowski, MSW, of Heartland Home Health and Hospice, provides some guidelines for holistic caregiving. He explains that our body, mind, and spirit are connected. Physical, psychological and spiritual issues need to be addressed as part of a total person. A person who is suffering physically is likely to be suffering emotionally and spiritually also.

At the top of his list is "Listen. Listening means more than just hearing what our loved one says...When listening becomes focused on the verbal and nonverbal expressions, you will start to hear a bigger story than what is on the surface."

Secondly, he describes empathy, which is when you "see and experience the world from your loved one's perspective."

A list of additional aspects of holistic care includes things such as maintaining spirituality, relaxing, pain managment, and other issues that are part of caring for the total person.

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