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.

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

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.

A National Resource

We support health care providers and families across the seven states Providence serves, and others nationwide.

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. Watch a video to learn more about the purpose and value of Advance directives.

Hear Me Now

Storytelling and listening are keys to whole person care. Hear Me Now is a partnership with the Providence Institute for Human Caring and StoryCorps to record interviews with patients, family and caregivers.

For Health Care Professionals

At the Institute for Human Caring, we offer physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains and others advanced training and support in providing whole person care through the end of life.