The Institute for Human Caring
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 and cultural 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 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 ill
- Caregivers receive help coping with the strains of caregiving
What do you want?
Whole person care is, at its core, a goal-aligned, relationship-based approach
to caregiving. By encouraging clinicians to know their patients as whole
persons, health care professionals can go beyond treating patients’
physical condition to also devote attention to patients’ emotional,
social and spiritual well-being. This approach benefits people of every
age and stage of life. It is particularly valuable when people are living
with serious medical conditions. Whole person care makes it natural for
caregivers to understand each patient’s values, preferences and
priorities. The result is highly personalized care.