As part of its transition from a treatment-based health care system to one which focuses on the whole health of the veteran, the VA recently established 18 Whole Health Care Flagship Sites around the country.
The VA Whole Health System is aimed at putting veterans in control of their well-rounded healthcare. The Whole Health System recognizes that health care should include all aspects of a veteran’s health—the spiritual, mental, emotional and environmental—not just the physical, which is a significant shift from only treating disease.
The Whole Health System is designed to be veteran-centric. Their slogan reads, “It’s all about you.”
Through the program, individual veterans work with Whole Health professionals to build a personalized health team. This team will consist of health care professionals as well as coaches, peers, and well-being instructors who will work with the veteran to help them take an active role in their health care, with the goal of achieving the best quality of life possible.
The program has 4 key elements:
- “You”—Veterans work with their team to identify goals that will put them in control of their health.
- “Self Care”—The teams will examine all aspects of the veteran’s health to identify needed skills and/or support to put them in control of their own well-being.
- “Professional Care”—These are the professional providers who cover any medical or mental health needs, both active treatment and prevention.
- “Your Community”—This is a supportive network that is unique to every veteran and consists of the important people in their life, whether they are family, friends, co-workers, etc.
The goal of the Whole Health program is to combine these elements to help veterans achieve optimal quality of life.
To help veterans make the change to the Whole Health System, the VA offers two opportunities for additional assistance: a 2-hour online video course and a more intensive 9-week course. Both courses are peer-taught by veterans who are experienced in the Whole Health System. Each VA medical center provides access to these learning experiences for currently enrolled veterans, family members, and transitioning military members.
In addition to the recent Whole Health Care Flagship Sites, the VA launched Whole Health Design sites back in 2016 and 2017. Check out the full list of Whole Health Care Flagship and Design Sites to find the nearest services available to you.
While this changed focus won’t resolve all the issues surrounding VA Healthcare, being more proactive in your health is a positive step in the right direction. We are hopeful that this program will have beneficial results and will give a stronger voice to individual veteran’s needs.