Recharging through the Personal Health Inventory
What could the Whole Health Personal Health Inventory (PHI) and a vacation to Mexico possibly have in common? Rest and Recharge! Whole Health is not just about improving your vital signs; it is about living your best life, and rest and recharge are just as important as fitness and food choices. Army National Guard Veteran, David Jacob Meyer found this out when he completed the PHI with a Whole Health Coach at the St. Cloud, Minnesota VA Health Care System.
“My main area of focus is learning how to slow down and take more breaks,” said Meyer. “I volunteer at my church and am a caretaker. I enjoy doing those things, but I didn’t realize how much it was taking out of me. I realized I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself,” he said.
Since working with his Whole Health Coach, Meyer has seen major improvements in his quality of life. “I am not as nervous as I was before. By recharging and not worrying so much about other things – I have been sleeping better at night,” he said. “My wife and I also just took a vacation to Mexico for the first time in years; and it was so refreshing and relaxing. I credit my journey in Whole Health for that trip, because I would not have gone otherwise. It made me wake up and realize I wasn’t doing the right things for my mental and physical health.”
The PHI is an integral part of Whole Health and is a self-assessment that walks Veterans through eight self-care areas identified on the Circle of Health to help them identify goals for their health and well-being.
The St. Cloud VA Health Care System is helping Veterans transform their lives one PHI at a time. Veterans enrolled for care at St. Cloud are receiving the PHI in the mail. Since launching this effort last October, St. Cloud has sent out 2,000 mailers to Veterans every two weeks with about 150 PHIs being completed by Veterans and returned to their health care team each week.
“One of our Whole Health coaches, Brianna Mohs, contacted a Veteran who returned his PHI survey,” said Joia Byrnes, Whole Health Coordinator and Supervisor. “After attending his first coaching session he recognized he wanted to work on his health and be more active for his family. By the second coaching session he had already made changes and was eating healthier and being more active. He then created a long-term goal and action step to further his wellness journey. If we had never mailed him the PHI, this Veteran would be making no changes.”
The PHI reveals something different for every Veteran who uses it; and it’s up to the Veteran to decide what changes they want to make in their lives and set goals that they will share with their coach and health care team.
At the St. Cloud VA Health Care System, each PHI is entered into the patient’s medical record so clinicians can learn more about the Veteran and what matters to them. So far, St. Cloud has seen a 67% growth in interest in Whole Health classes and 866% growth in the number of Veterans seeking Whole Health coaching. To date, about a third of Veterans who received a follow-up call have signed up for Whole Health services.
For Veterans who want to take the first step in their Whole Health journey, Meyer says “Everybody can learn something, it’s never too late. People say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but this old dog is saying you can!”