The Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, is leading the mission to reform healthcare by moving from traditional, disease-focused care to the Whole Health Systems (WHS) model. The WHS model asks veterans to place their visions of well-being at the center of their care. With veterans in the driver’s seat, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center supports veterans by using their goals to provide personalized, proactive care that empowers, equips, and encourages veterans as they take charge of their wellness.
On Saturday October 12, 2019, Dr. Char Brar, DNP, ACNP-BC, Clinical Director of WHS at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (JBVAMC) came on WVON’s America’s Heroes Group talk show with Cliff Kelley to discuss the Whole Health services available to veterans.
Dr. Brar explained that Whole Health practitioners believe “Whole Health” is about making mindful decisions regarding health and well-being. According to Dr. Brar, modern life keeps many of us on autopilot, so we fail to ask ourselves what brings joy, meaning, and purpose to our lives. Mindfulness, she said, requires taking time for oneself to pause and reflect on what is important. For veterans, the goal of mindfulness is to discover their personal mission, aspiration, and purpose for civilian life, health and well-being. At the JBVAMC, Dr. Brar explained, Whole Health changes the conversation between providers and patients from “What is the matter with you?” to “What really matters to you?”
Through Whole Health, veterans work with healthcare teams to co-produce their healthcare plans and meet desired goals like being more active with their families, waking up without pain, or getting addiction relief.
The WHS consists of three main areas: Pathway, Well-Being Programs, and Whole Health Clinical Care. Pathway is the starting point for most veterans, empowering them by exploring their goals through group and individual coaching. Well-Being Programs teaches self-care skills, like healthy cooking, yoga, meditation, healing touch, horse-back riding, water aerobics, and more. Well-Being Programs also provide ongoing group and individual support from Whole Health coaches and veteran peers. Clinical Care involves traditional medical care and complementary therapies, like acupuncture, battle field acupuncture, and chiropractic care, that align with patient goals.
The Pathway offers an “Intro to Whole Health” class that runs every first and third Wednesday of the month from 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Veteran’s Resource Center, Room 3225 located on the third floor of the Taylor Street Building. Walk-ins are welcome. Veterans may also enroll in a six week group coaching course “Taking Charge of my Life and Health (TCMLH)” or individual Whole Health Coaching for self-empowerment. A female only TCMLH course is also available at Jesse Brown VAMC. Veterans are also welcome and encouraged to bring their family members and/or care givers.
In addition, individual coaching is available by VA Video Connect and telephone.
For more information and to enter Pathway at JBVAMC, veterans can call the Whole Health Hotline at 312-569-5395.