Health Circles: The New Circle of Life
- Client Centered
- Mindful Awareness
- Physical Health
- Preventative Care and Treatment
An interesting concept emerging in health care today is the Health Circle. Also known as “whole health,” it espouses the belief that bodies stay in a state of well-being when they are attuned to different aspects of health. Whole health involves a team of healthcare providers in concert with the patient in a proactive pattern of behavior aimed at producing and maintaining physical and emotional well-being. Here are five defining aspects of a Health Circle.
Using a diagram of a health circle, the client is at the center. This proactive program first concerns itself with the values, hopes, strengths, and weaknesses of the individual. A whole health program asks the individual to identify what is important to him or her and builds around that factor. For instance, if a person has a progressive disease, is treatment at any cost his goal, or is the quality of life more important?
Put simply, this term just means knowing oneself. The Department of Veteran’s Affairs website says it involves paying attention in a purposeful way. Too many people get distracted easily from monitoring their well-being. The Veteran’s site uses the example of someone walking somewhere and not recalling anything seen on the way. Mindful Awareness is looking at things and really seeing them in a non-judgmental way, in the present tense.
This concept is important to circle health because so much of the proactiveness is fueled by the client’s ability to assess how they feel, to know when something changes and to understand which resources are available to address those changes. More than that, however, is the idea that people who take note of their surroundings and look at them without comparing them to past events or regrets are happier and consequently healthier.
Part of the Mindful Awareness circle drawn around the client center is physical health. This involves the client’s self-care. Is the client getting enough rest? Is he or she monitoring and reducing stress? Is he or she paying attention to nutrition and establishing a healthy diet? Is at least an hour of daily exercise part of his lifestyle, and does it address flexibility and energy levels?
Preventative Care and Treatment
Many threats to good health can be resolved through preventative measures or treated to restore health. This ring of the health circle is the team approach or network of healthcare professionals that work together to achieve and maintain wellbeing for the client. It could consist of the primary care practitioner, specialists, dieticians, counselors, and others who understand the whole picture of the client’s health circle. A large part of the effectiveness of this is cooperation and information sharing among team members.
This outer ring is the environment in which the client lives and implies the necessity of his or her involvement in it. Of course, this includes health resources, but it goes beyond that to participation in community affairs and the building of a social network. This concept is at the core of the health circle. Individuals who are isolated do not thrive. This ring of the circle could be a community of healthcare providers, a food bank, religious affiliations, and even simple friendships. The commonality of individual responsibility for wellbeing ripples out to make a healthy community.
The holistic approach to wellbeing is not a new concept; people have recognized the importance of taking responsibility for one’s health and being proactive in achieving it. What is new is the emphasis on the partnering of the client with many healthcare professionals in a health circle that extends to the wellbeing of the community.