Tracy Gaudet, MD, director of the VA’s Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, has been inspired to change her approach to medicine as well as transform care at the Veteran Affairs Medical Clinics. Gaudet is in charge of the effort to establish the VA’s focus on allowing veterans, whether ill or well, to enhance their health and thoroughly achieve their overall well-being goals.
“Healthcare in the U.S. and the VA has operated on a ‘find it, fix it’ reactive disease model,” Gaudet said in a recent interview. “What we’re undertaking is truly a paradigm shift that promotes health and wellness.”
As compared to initiating with a patient’s suggested complication or attempting to identify a condition early in its development, Tracy Gaudet believes healthcare providers should begin by understanding the veteran and their ambitions. She explains that medical staff at the VA shouldn’t be asking, “what’s the matter?”, rather, they should be asking, “what matters to you?”. The goal of complete health at the VA is to assist all veterans in order to determine their basic health achievement goals and desires and to also help them focus on all the areas of their lives that affect their health and don’t allow them to reach those goals.
“It’s not just a ‘feel good’ program,” Gaudet noted, “but an approach informed by evidence that makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches as well as emphasizing self-care at all points along the spectrum of health and disease.”
This approach often takes veterans out of the clinic. The nine-week, peer-to-peer program emphasizes on guiding veterans through various questions to encourage them to discuss why they want to be healthy, what they want to accomplish and the kinds of relationships they want to have. According to Tracy Gaudet, the results have been astounding. Many veterans have found meaning and purpose in their lives again and connected to healthier lifestyles through these new programs being available at Veterans Affairs clinics. Veterans can then follow through with other available programs to help them reduce stress like meditation or they can increase their overall fitness levels. Additionally, as their health improves, the cost of caring for them drops. The complete health approach encourages veterans to make continuous changes in their health and life which may involve working on their closest relationships.
The Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation (OPCC&CT) is directed to classify these innovative programs throughout the VA and determine whether they can be implemented across the entire system and facilitate their performance. It will also implement new programs on a national basis.
Despite the operational and infrastructure challenges, the VA has already established a majority of the fundamentals for the transformation of care at the heart of the integrated, whole health approach.
Five existing facilities in Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, Birmingham, AL, and East Orange, NJ, have become Centers of Innovation, combined with primary care and mental health services as well as alternative programs, such as yoga, meditation, Qigong and Tai Chi. These centers have already received a wide range of programs to address whole health. For example, a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program found on the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System has assisted veterans to overcome pain and substance abuse. The East Orange New Jersey Healthcare System has introduced a demonstration kitchen and an outdoor program to support healthier eating and engagement with nature, while the Washington center is bringing in virtual online integrative health services and information.
The local El Paso Veterans Affairs Healthcare System also has a variety of similar programs available for veterans and active duty military members alike. As a part of the veteran’s Medical Benefits Package, chiropractic services are now being required as an alternative treatment method to relieve musculoskeletal injuries and conditions. Chiropractic care focuses on restoring an individuals natural state of well being through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations to gradually rehabilitate patients and improve their body’s optimal health. A chiropractor can carefully diagnose the underlying cause of an individual’s symptoms and follow through with the proper treatment to strengthen and improve the mobility of the joints by aligning the spine and stretching the structures surrounding the spinal bones. Along with a basic set of exercises, chiropractic treatment can ultimately improve the overall health and wellness of many veterans as well as help them achieve their desired physical and mental goals.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.elpasochiropractorblog.com
Many medical staff members at the Veterans Affairs Medical Clinics, such as Tracy Gaudet, MD, have been inspired to change their approach to medicine as well as transform the way they handle care to best provide veterans and active duty service members with the best possible benefits and opportunities to improve their health. The VA now focuses on granting veterans the ability to enhance their overall wellness and achieve their goals for well being. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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