Holistic care involves fostering health for mind, body and spirit. Those who work with older patients with chronic illnesses or geriatric-specific medical needs must understand the value of holistic care to best support the geriatric population.
Many patients know they need holistic care but do not know how to ask for it or where they can go to receive this type of specialized treatment. For these reasons, nursing professionals should always treat patients with holistic care, regardless of the individual or level of care required. Learn about the significance of holistic care as you further your nursing education in The University of Texas at Arlington's online Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program.
The Importance of Holistic Care for Older Adults
Holistic care for older adults is not a one-way street. Individuals work with their healthcare providers to assess themselves and see what they need in their life to be "whole." Every individual needs to be cared for in the unique social, emotional, physical and spiritual ways that make them their own person.
Not every patient will need to be cared for in the same way. For example, one patient might have high levels of social, emotional and spiritual well-being but lack physical health. Others may possess strong physical capabilities but need guidance on improving their social, emotional and spiritual circumstances.
It is highly beneficial when nurses can recognize when patients need a key aspect of holistic care, especially when it may lead to an opportunity for growth. In many cases, older adults experience feelings of inadequacy. For example, those who cannot perform the same tasks as before might feel disconnected from their "inner self." As a result, it can be difficult for them to cope with signs of aging.
Regarding geriatric care, Long Life Care Management mentions that "a holistic approach … can reveal practices and care methods needed to help patients live healthier lives." For better patient outcomes, caregivers should follow these practices, among others:
- Introduce proper active exercises
- Advise healthy diets
- Promote social interactions among patients
- Provide appropriate treatments and medications
Why Is a Holistic Approach Better?
According to Highgate Senior Living, a holistic approach is better for seniors because "it has been shown to contribute to overall wellness more so than focusing on any single aspect of well-being in elderly adults." As a result, holistic care can improve seniors' health and happiness.
Seniors who receive a holistic approach to their well-being live longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives. Highgate Senior Living reports that "seniors who receive holistic care report higher levels of hope, dignity, self-discipline, social growth, a sense of autonomy, vigor and vitality." These health outcomes are possible because the holistic approach focuses on healing the body as an entire individual rather than separate sections. In addition, patients will more likely feel a sense of wholeness if the mind and spirit also receive attention.
Long Life Care Management explains that "by taking on a more holistic approach towards geriatric care, the individual's circumstances take center stage. This allows a more targeted treatment, allowing for more efficient results and an overall better disposition from the patient."
Preparing for a Holistic Healthcare Approach
One way to gain holistic care skills as a nurse is to further your career and earn your BSN degree. Those who enroll in the RN to BSN online program at the University of Texas at Arlington will cultivate the clinical reasoning and leadership skills needed to thrive in the evolving healthcare industry. Students can complete the program in as few as nine months.
Students will learn to implement globally focused and culturally appropriate strategies for health promotion and disease prevention across the lifespan and develop the ability to use decision-making and leadership skills.
This intensive program allows all students to utilize evidence-based data to strengthen and improve client care outcomes through comprehensive, efficient and cost-conscious patient care. For example, the Holistic Care for Older Adults course covers the concepts and issues related to the holistic care of the senior population and its impact on society and healthcare.
Each future BSN-prepared nurse will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential roles in the nursing profession while simultaneously advocating for holistic care.
Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington's online RN to BSN program.
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