Integrative Health Care: The Prince of Wales is Right on the Money
Given the name of my blog, you can easily surmise that I advocate for a broad view of health and wellness. I envision overall well-being as consisting of many dimensions that interact and influence each other, including:
- Physical wellness
- Emotional wellness
- Social wellness
- Spiritual wellness
- Intellectual wellness
- Occupational wellness
- Environmental wellness
You can read more about these dimensions here.
I would love for the health care system to view individuals in this way - as whole persons - so that true health can be achieved. That's why I was so pleased to read an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine written by the Prince of Wales himself (Prince Charles) in which he advocates for much the same thing.
In his article, Prince Charles outlines a much broader and more complex conceptualization of health than he believes is practiced in the United Kingdom. He calls it an "integrative approach" to health care that encompasses physical aspects, the social environment, education, architecture, and agriculture. He also feels that a person's mind, body, and spirit should be viewed as one entity instead of separate things to treat.
Interestingly, Prince Charles has covered almost all of the wellness dimensions I've listed above:
- Physical aspects = Physical wellness
- Social environment = Social wellness
- Education = Intellectual wellness
- Architecture = Environmental wellness
- Agriculture = Physical and environmental wellness
- Mind = Emotional wellness
- Body = Physical wellness
- Spirit = Spiritual wellness
Six of the seven wellness dimensions are covered under Prince Charles' plan. The only one not directly mentioned is occupational wellness, which he addresses in a statement supporting the idea that the health of employees is related to the extent to which they feel empowered in their work.
Perhaps I was most encouraged by Prince Charles' value of the human side of medicine, such as compassion and authentic communication. As he eloquently stated, the "best of science and technology constantly needs to be harnessed and deployed to obtain the best effect - but, I would suggest, not at the expense of the human elements" (p. 496).
Amen, Prince Charles. I wish you all the best in making your vision come true. And I hope the United States pays attention to your thoughtful integrative model as well.
The Prince of Wales (2012). Integrated health and postmodern medicine. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 105(12), 496-498.