Transforming healthcare through whole person care

Whole person care refers to a renewed understanding of the health care mandate. It extends the health care vision beyond the reductionist biomedical model to the wider horizon necessary if one is to attend to both disease and the patient’s experience of illness. By whole person care we intend an approach that involves the total care of patients through not only the control of symptoms but also attention to the experiential and spiritual concerns that result from illness. It calls for a broad focus that includes suffering as well as the biology of disease, caring as well as curing, quality of life as well as quantity of life.

Dr. Tom Hutchinson joins Global’s Laura Casella to talk about whole person care – what it means and how it may transform health care in Quebec.

"For too long, we have assumed that because we see science as the basis of modern medicine, we have to let go of a much older part of the medical mandate that has to do with deep relating to people and the facilitation of healing. We do not and we cannot give up this part of our job without losing our way, and our ability to help our patients. Whole person care means refocusing on our main objective in medicine – the relief of suffering in ill patients – and using everything at our disposal including scientific knowledge, clinical skill, and practical wisdom in the pursuit of that laudable goal."

Hutchinson TA. Whole Person Care. In: Hutchinson T (ed.) Whole Person Care. A New Paradigm for the 21st Century. New York, NY: Springer; 2011.

Whole Person Care. Transforming Healthcare

by Tom A. Hutchinson

Targeted review of theoretical and clinical foundations of whole person care offers practitioners a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, skills and tools necessary for the practice of whole person care.

This book argues persuasively and passionately that patient care is best when the patient’s healing journey is as good as it can possibly be. That means the patient as a Whole Person – the self in all its physiological, emotional, social and even spiritual dimensions – should receive truly comprehensive patient-centered care.

In Whole Person Care: Transforming Healthcare, the author, an expert in whole person care theory and practice, outlines the background of whole person care, explains and illustrates the key ideas, puts the growing movement of whole person care in the context of other recent developments in healthcare, and explores the implications of whole person care for individual practitioners, healthcare teams, and the organization of healthcare at the institutional and systems level. In addition, the author provides a compelling, coherent narrative, rich with clinical examples and vignettes, that clarifies for physicians, medical students and healthcare administrators the meaning of whole person care and its implications for the future of medical practice. An invaluable resource for all clinicians and personnel concerned with managing patients with acute and chronic illness, Whole Person Care: Transforming Healthcare is a major addition to the literature and a must-read for health practitioners and health administrators at every level.

Whole Person Care. A New Paradigm for the 21st Century

by Thomas A. Hutchinson (editor)

A ground-breaking new volume and the first of its kind to concisely outline and explicate the emerging field of whole person care process, Whole Person Care: A New Paradigm for the 21st Century organizes the disparate strains of literature on the topic. It does so by clarifying the concept of 'whole person' and also by outlining the challenges and opportunities that death anxiety poses to the practice of whole person care. Whole person care seeks to study, understand and promote the role of health care in relieving suffering and promoting healing in acute and chronic illness as a complement to the disease focus of biomedicine. The focus is on the whole person -- physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. Using concise, easy-to-read language, the early chapters offer practitioners a thorough understanding of the concepts, skills and tools necessary for the practice of whole person care from a clinician-patient interaction standpoint, while the last two chapters review the myriad implications of whole person care for medical practice. An invaluable resource for all areas of medical practice and for practitioners at all stages of development, from medical students to physicians and allied health providers with many years of experience, Whole Person Care: A New Paradigm for the 21st Century will have a profound impact on western medical practice in North America and elsewhere.

Bloomberg Manulife Prize for the Promotion of Active Health

Keep Calm and Thrive On - an Interview with Dr. Tom A. Hutchinson, November 2015

One of the key tenets of active health is prevention. Dr. Tom A. Hutchinson, Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of McGill Programs in Whole Person Care, says healing is relevant at all times, not only when illness is present. Listen to this interview in which he discusses everyday mindfulness/stress management and how it can radically impact wellbeing.

The Reporter

McGill University | Montreal, Quebec | Thursday, March 18, 2010

With Dr. Tom Hutchinson, Director, McGill Programs in Whole Person Care

Dr. Tom HutchinsonPhoto: Owen Egan

In 1999 Dr. Balfour Mount, the father of Palliative Care in North America, and Dr. Abraham Fuks, then Dean of Medicine, instituted the McGill Programs in Whole Person Care (WPC) with a simple goal: to establish research and educational programs that integrate the existential and physical aspects of illness as a way to better understand how to respond to suffering while enhancing the quality of patients’ lives. more

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