Imagine a health care program that allows you to set health care goals based on what matters to you, and then supports you on the path to achieving them.
A program run by a team of medical professionals that work with you to treat what matters to you, instead of just asking what is the matter with you. This personalized, proactive, and patient centered approach to care is the concept behind the VA’s Whole Health initiative.
Washington DC VA Medical Center’s Whole Health Director, Heather Malecki, explains that every Veteran has a team of health care professionals that may include doctors, nurses, counselors, chaplains and more to provide comprehensive care. Whole Health places the Veteran at the center of that team and empowers them to take charge of their health and well-being.
“VA understands that when you set your own goals for your health, you are more likely to work toward them. With Whole Health, you set the priority based on your values, and we follow your lead. Your health care team works with you to develop a plan based on your needs and goals,” said Malecki.
Formed around a holistic approach to care for Veterans, Whole health considers your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and environmental needs. It combines conventional health care and complementary approaches such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Mindfulness.
“Mindfulness meditation allows you to decrease stress and calm your body, anywhere, anytime. VA can teach you how to practice,” said Malecki.
Some of the classes Whole Health offers include:
Learn more about these classes and how they can help your wellbeing here: Well-Being Programs – Whole Health (va.gov)
Since its roll out in 2018, Whole Health has received positive feedback from Veterans. Veteran Rebecca McCullers participated in group acupuncture, iRest Yoga, and group coaching classes before deciding to become a health coach, yoga and meditation teacher at the DC-War Related Injury and Illness Study Center.
“I knew after my six-week group coaching class that I wanted to be a part of this Whole Health community,” she said. “It empowers Veterans and employees alike and works to build a more wholistic system of care. It was refreshing to see the VA move toward this transformational model of health care.”
To learn more about Whole Health, visit: Whole Health Home (va.gov)
Watch a video about the Whole Health program here: #VADidThat: What it Means to Care for a Veteran’s Whole Health – YouTube