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Whole Health For Life


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A Whole Health System Serving Veterans

Image of Veteran working in partnership with a VA Health Coach Provider.

Veteran around the country work in partnership everyday with their VA providers, therapists and certified health coaches to optimize overall health and well-being.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Whole Health is an approach to health care that empowers and equips people to take charge of their health and well-being, and to live their life to the fullest. VA facilities have been exploring what it takes to shift from a system designed around points of medical care primarily focused on disease management, to one that is based in a partnership across time focused on whole health. We have learned that just piling more into clinical care is not the answer - not for clinicians and not for Veterans. 

The VA Whole Health System supports the partnership between Veterans and their health care teams. This Whole Health System is made up of by three components, characterized by their respective roles for empowering, equipping, and treating Veterans to help them live their lives to the fullest. These three components meet Veterans wherever they are on the journey to Whole Health: 

Veteran by tree    The Pathway (Empowering): Partners with the person and their family, exploring their mission/purpose/aspirations and begins their overarching personal health plan like the one Ms. Judy has developed in Gulf Port, Mississippi. She is focusing on what matters most to her and living her life to the fullest with the support of her team. 
Veteran practicing teleyoga    Well-being Programs (Equipping): Skill building and support; proactive, integrative health approaches such as stress reduction, yoga, tai chi, mindfulness, nutrition, acupuncture, health coaching; Not diagnosis or disease based.  An example of a Well-being Program can be seen here in the Breathing, Stretching Relaxation Yoga Class that is being provided through Telehealth from the VA Greater Los Angeles.
Veteran talking in partnership with their VA provider    Whole Health Clinical Care (Treating): VA or community, or both, providers trained in Whole Health; includes healing environments and relationships, complementary and integrative health approaches, and personal health planning as illustrated here at the DC VA Medical Center.

The Whole Health Systems approach not only partners with Veterans to improve their whole health, which is particularly critical when Veterans are dealing with such complex issues as pain and the invisible wounds of war, it also helps reduce the burden on primary care and improves Veteran’s access. 

How is this transformation taking place?

VA staff have been working with Veterans around the country in bringing this approach to life.   2017 Whole Health Design Sites

OPCC&CT recognizes the Whole Health Design Sites featured in the map above for their assistance and support in helping to co-create the Whole Health Systems approach. Seven design sites began piloted the Whole Health Systems approach last year and eleven new design sites were identified in 2017 so many facilities are advancing this approach. 

In conjunction with the CARA legislation, VHA is now ready to launch the full Whole Health System in 18 Flagship Facilities in FY18 which are being identified in March by each Network Director. Please stay tuned for these updates in our next update on the Whole Health System and in the meantime, learn more on the OPCC&CT internet site.



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