Whole person care: Why it matters

When people are sick, we usually focus on their medical care. But what about their “personal” care? Are they getting the emotional support they need? Does their medical care reflect their spiritual beliefs? 

There is a personal side to health care, but it often gets overlooked. That means people aren’t getting the best care possible. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. The solution is whole person care. This is health care based on your medical needs – and personal values.

What do you want?

The Providence Institute for Human Caring is leading a transformation of health services to emphasize whole person care.

Dr. Ira Byock, a national expert on palliative care, leads the Institute for Human Caring. Under his guidance, the Institute is working to encourage patients to talk with their doctors and families about what kind of care they want through the end of life. This is the first step toward whole person care.

Most Americans want to spend their final days at home, surrounded by loved ones. Yet about 70 percent of people spend their last days in hospitals or nursing homes. This can deprive patients and their families of the comfort they need at a difficult and emotional time. The Institute for Human Caring believes whole person care can help change this. The result will be better care and support for everyone who is sick, and their families.

Whole person care means that:

  • Patients are involved in decisions about their care
  • Families receive help supporting loved ones who are seriously ill
  • Caregivers receive help coping with the strains of caregiving

A national resource

The Institute for Human Caring is based in Torrance, Calif. We support health care providers and families across the five states Providence serves, and others nationwide.

We focus on these key areas:

  • Sharing best practices for health care providers
  • Training providers
  • Supporting community groups that help patients
  • Advancing community care
  • Advancing whole person care

Learn more about our vision

Why you need an Advance Directive

Advance directives allow you to appoint a person to represent your health care wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself. Having this document in your medical record can prevent unwanted medical procedures. Having an advance directive is one of the kindest things you can do for your family in the event of serious illness or injury.