VA Whole Health is a cutting-edge approach to care that supports your health and well-being. Whole Health centers around what matters to you, not what is the matter with you. This means your health team will get to know you as a person, before working with you to develop a personalized health plan based on your values, needs, and goals.
Whole Health Monthly Highlights
Our focus for February: Personal Development
The new year is often a time for reflection, goal setting and focusing on making healthy lifestyle changes. This is a great time to consider your personal development and focus on ways to grow in any area of your life - work or play! Personal development is about giving yourself more options and more control over your life. We invite you to take the time and explore, learn and grow by checking out the video, handout and featured story below. Hear and see how a focus on personal development has had an impact on your fellow Veterans lives.
- Video: A Veterans Journey: Personal Development (1:33): Navy Veteran Tammy D’Alesandro explains how personal development has transformed her life and her view of herself.
- Handout: Finding Balance : Veterans can download this educational handout that includes guidance on exploring your values and using those to balance all areas of your life.
- Feature story: Art Eases Pain for Veteran (va.gov): Army Veteran Michael Jones debilitated by pain, unemployed, and nearly homeless. Whole Health helped him find his calling as an artist, teacher, and gallery curator.
- Webpage: Build Your Personal Health Plan - Whole Health (va.gov): This webpage has everything Veterans need to develop their plan, including the Personal Health Inventory (long form, brief, and Spanish versions).
VA Eastern Kansas has launched its supervised exercise program - Gerofit! This program is for Veterans age 65 and older and is offered via telehealth. It encourages increased physical activity, aims to reduce fall risk, and boosts your weight loss and energy level! Gerofit offers strength training, balance exercises, flexibility exercises, and cardio fitness to improve your endurance. Most importantly, we will assess your functional limitations and be sure to create an individualized plan that aligns with your fitness goals.
To participate in this program, you will need internet access and a computer, tablet, or smart phone. To enroll, please reach out to your primary care provider and request a Gerofit consult through the Whole Health program. We can't wait to join you on your health and wellbeing journey!
Whole Health Veteran Classes and Wellness Resources
ALL Veterans are welcome!
Join us in one of our entry level classes to learn more about what Whole Health is and resources available to you through VA Eastern Kansas! Call (785) 350 - 3111, ext. 51063 or send a message via MyHealtheVet (secure messaging address EKHCS, Whole Health _WH) to enroll.
You can also join us for one of our Tai Chi, Yoga, Mindfulness, or sleep courses without the need to sign up by clicking on the direct links below in the drop-down menu! *If you are accessing class through a mobile device, we recommend you download and use the Webex application. If you have problems accessing the class, please reach out to email@example.com for assistance.
Don't wait to enroll to get started on your health and wellbeing journey! You can begin with completing your Personal Health Plan found in the link below.
Introduction to Whole Health
Introduction to Whole Health is a one-time class where Veterans learn more about the Whole Health approach to care, the concepts behind Whole Health living, and complete a Personal Health Inventory.
This class is offered virtually and in person on the Topeka and Leavenworth campuses.
- Virtual: 4th Tuesday each Month 10 AM - 12 PM
- In Person: 3rd Tuesday each Month 10 AM - 12 PM at both campuses.
Spouses and caregivers are welcome to attend!
Taking Charge of My Life and Health
Taking Charge of My Life and Health is a once a week for 6-weeks group course that provides an opportunity for more self-exploration, self-care, and goal creation around what really matters to the Veteran. Through this offering, together Veterans explore their new missions, delve into each aspect of the Whole Health circle, and begin to create an overarching personal health plan.
This class is offered on the following days and times below:
- Tuesdays, 14:00 - 1600 --- In- Person - Topeka Campus
- Thursdays, 10:00 - 12:00 --- Virtual
Yoga is a mind and body practice with origins in ancient Indian philosophy. The various styles of yoga typically combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. It has been recommended as a first line treatment for acute and chronic low back pain. Regular Yoga practice may also reduce stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthy hearts. Whether you're struggling with pain or interested in learning more about mind-body practice, yoga is available to you at VA Eastern Kansas!
Live Yoga Classes
We have live in-person and virtual yoga classes. These classes vary in time, availability and location. Please speak with your provider about placing a Whole Health Yoga consult and one of our team members will reach out to you to explore the best option and fit for you. Most of our classes are great for beginners and offer modifications so the class meets any physical health needs or limitations.
On Demand Yoga are recorded classes with an instructor that are available, day or night, when it fits your busy schedule. They can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
#LiveWholeHealth - Once you click this link, type "yoga" in the search box for results
Please Note: If a class falls on a Federal Holiday there will not be class on this day.
Mindfulness Based Tai Chi
Tai Chi is an ancient mind-body exercise rooted in traditional martial arts. Training with a calm mind in the slow, circular and intentional movements of Tai Chi strengthens and integrates the mind and body. An excellent exercise for persons of all ages and all abilities, Tai Chi enhances relaxation, focus, posture, balance, strength, coordination, immune response and mood.
Participants will develop foundation mind/body skills, learn the building blocks of Tai Chi movement, and combine skills into a flowing sequence increasing strength and flexibility.
Want to know more about Tai Chi, click on the link: Tai Chi for Veterans
Virtual – 10-week Tai Chi Group - Tuesdays 1pm - 2pm
In Person (Leavenworth Campus Only) - 10 Week Tai Chi Group Wednesdays 10:00am – 11:00 or Thursdays 9am - 10am.
*To self enroll for the Leavenworth Classes call (913) 682 - 2000 extension 62877.
Practice Resources - Tai Chi with Tricia Yu If you are looking for guidance with your practice in between classes, the Tai Chi with Tricia Yu offers YouTube Channel videos and demonstrations that corelate with tai chi classes available above.
Smoking and Tobacco Cessation
If you are trying to quit smoking or want to stop using tobacco, we can help you with support, resources and programs. These include:
- Virtual tobacco cessation group - Every Wednesday at 1130 am
- Tobacco Cessation Quitline for individual counseling and strategies
- SmokefreeVET text message program for daily advise and interactive support
- Stay Quit Coach mobile app to help you quit smoking and stay smoke-free
To enroll in virtual tobacco cessation group call 913-682-2000 extension 62991.
Advanced Care Planning
Advance Care Planning is a one-time session providing education and assistance with completion of an Advance Directive, free of cost!
Regardless of age or health status, having an Advance Directive is important for all adults. If you were ever seriously ill or injured and unable to communicate your own health care wishes, an Advance Directive gives you the opportunity to appoint a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare and provide instructions regarding your treatment preferences. During this session, staff will be available to assist with completion of the appropriate documents if you choose. Veterans are welcome to bring along a trusted friend or family member.
If you would like to participate in a virtual session, please call to be scheduled. If you would like to attend a session in-person, please see the table below for the most convenient offering that fits your location and schedule.
For enrollment in virtual session or for questions, please contact our Advance Care Planning Coordinator:
Elizabeth R. Brown, LSCSW
The Great Outdoors
Research shows that nature- based activities can help Veterans in many ways which is why we have brought The Great Outdoors class to EK for you!
In this four session class, Veterans will learn about the benefits of connecting with nature, build new skills, nurture positive emotions, and improve overall health and well-being by strengthening their connection with nature. We will emphasize activities that are low cost, local and can be easily included in your daily living. While we will not be out hiking in the forest together, we will meet at outside locations to enjoy nature on our beautiful campus.
Spring 2024 Session Class Dates: Every Thursday starting April 4th through April 25th from 2pm-3pm.
Fall 2024 Session Class Dates: Every Thursday starting August 22nd through September 12th from 1030 - 1130am.
Space is Limited, to register call 913- 682- 2000 extension 62877.
MOVE! Weight Management
The best way to manage your weight is to eat smart and be physically active. MOVE!® is a national weight management program that helps Veterans lose weight, keep it off and improve their health. MOVE!® is a comprehensive lifestyle intervention that focuses on health and wellness through nutrition, physical activity, and behavior change.
For more information contact Chelbie Glenn at 913-682-2000, ext 62274, or you may request to be invited to a virtual 20-minute informational class by calling 913-682-2000, ext 62243. These classes take place on Wednesdays at 12pm.
Whether you'd like to get your hands on healthy recipes, learn about food preparation, or work with a dietitian to develop an individual plan that meets your needs, VAEK Nutrition Service has something to offer! Call 913-682-2000, ext. 62243 to get scheduled for your nutrition consultation today.
Whether you're wanting to work on personal development, recharging, or connecting with others, VA Eastern Kansas has something to offer you through our Recreational Therapy program! Through this program, you'll have the option to learn how to play a new instrument, engage in mindfulness-based music practice, and so much more! Reach out to Andrea Chaffee at 785-350-3111, ext. 63067 to learn more or enroll.
Spiritual wellbeing offers opportunity for connection to one's deepest values and is an important part of overall wellbeing! VA Chaplains are available to you to provide religious, spiritual, moral, and ethical direction. You can reach VAEK Chaplain Services today by calling 785-350-3111, ext. 64717 for more information and to get connected.
Whole Health Peer Facilitator Volunteer
Is part of your mission, aspiration and purpose in life to serve your fellow Veterans by providing support and encouragement to live their best life? Becoming a Veteran peer facilitator might be just what you are looking for.
As a whole health peer facilitator volunteer, you will engage in activities such as:
- Introducing Veterans to the Whole Health approach
- Assisting your peers in exploring their own Whole Health, using tools such as the Personal Health Inventory and the Circle of health
- Connecting Veterans to resources and programs based on their preferences
- Supporting Veterans in learning and practicing new self-care skills.
*Minimum time commitment is 3 hours a month.
If you are interested contact Bethany Vanderslice at 913-682-2000 extension 62877.
Whole Health Coaching
Whole Health Coaches work with Veterans one-on-one and in group settings to empower the Veteran to develop and achieve self-determined goals related to health and wellness. Coaches support Veterans in identifying internal and external resources, and in developing self-management strategies for making sustainable, healthy lifestyle, behavior changes. As partners and facilitators, coaches support Veterans in achieving health and behavioral goals while collaborating with the Veteran’s healthcare team. Coaches assist Veterans to use their insight, personal strengths and resources, goal setting, action steps and accountability toward whole health changes.
Mission to Whole Health: Veteran Story
Whole Health is having a positive impact on Veterans all across VA Eastern Kansas! From starting with identifying their greatest sense of purpose to taking positive steps toward meaningful change, learn about the experiences of Veterans on their Mission to Whole Health through our Veteran Highlight Stories.
Components of Proactive Health and Well-Being
The Components of Proactive Health and Well-Being picture will help you think about your whole health. All of the areas in the circle are important. They are all connected. Improving one area can benefit other areas in your life and influence your overall physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.
The inner circle represents you, your values and what really matters to you. Being in a state of mindful awareness helps you identify what matters to you. The next circle is your self-care. These are the circumstances and choices you make in your everyday life to take care of you. The next ring represents professional care you receive. Professional care may include typical medical interventions like examinations, tests, medications tests, medications and counseling. This circle also includes complementary approaches such as acupuncture, chiropractic care and other mind-body therapies. The outer ring represents the people and groups to whom you are connected.
The Circle of Health
The Circle of Health illustrates the big picture connections between your health and other aspects of your life. Whole health opens the door to discuss not only your health conditions, but the things that impact your well-being.
The innermost circle represents each of us as unique individuals. We start at the middle saying, “I am the expert on my life, values, goals, and priorities. Only I can know what really matters to ME. This knowledge needs to be what drives my health and my healthcare. I am the most important person when it comes to making choices that influence my health and well-being. I am the leader of my team, and my medical team professionals are some of the invited players.”
Examples of the types of services Veterans can access and use to support this area include (but are not limited to):
- What REALLY matters to you in your life?
- What do you want your health for?
- What is your vision of your best possible health?
Mindfulness is being fully aware, or paying attention, to the present moment. Sometimes, we go through our daily lives on autopilot with a tendency to dwell on the past or plan events in the future. At times we struggle to pay attention to what is happening right now; without judging or trying to fix it. Being mindful, or aware, allows you to make conscious proactive choices about every aspect of your health. Mindfulness connects you to each component of your well-being, and to your whole self.
The Eight Areas of Self-Care
Self-care is often the most important factor in living a healthy life, which in turn allows you to live your life fully, in the ways that matter to you. Self-care includes all the choices you make on a daily basis that affect your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Evidence shows that each of these eight areas of self-care contributes a great deal to your overall health and well-being and positively impact disease prevention. Consider your values, lifestyle, habits, and motivations in each area. Taking stock of where you are now and where you want to be in each of these areas is the first step in living a healthier life.
Prevention and treatment of illness or disease and traditional and complementary medicine are part of professional care. Preventive care includes things like immunizations and cancer screening. Common treatments include checkups, medicines, supplements, physical therapy, surgery, and counseling. Complementary medicine includes approaches like acupuncture, chiropractic care, dry needling, and mind-body therapies. It is important to stay current with your personal care plan for health and well-being.
The outer ring represents your community. For some, their community is close by and for others it is far way. Your community is more than the places you live, work, or worship. It includes all the people and social groups you connect with that add value and purpose to your life.