Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Wanted: Holistic Patient Manager for Holistic Clinic

We need a new role in healthcare: The Holistic Patient Manager.

This topic takes be back several years to when my mother-in-law was very ill. She was a life-long smoker and so had lung cancer, liver problems, diabetes, ulcers and was on dialysis. We knew it was not long before she would be gone.

Katie spent much of her last two years of life in hospitals. The only problem was: Where should the hospital put her? In the "lung building?" Or maybe in the "dialysis ward?" She had every type of illness, it seemed.

My brother-in-law, a project manager himself, noticed that the "patient manager" role was sadly lacking. The "lung nurses" didn't know what the "kidney nurses" had done, so there were often medication mix-ups and major problems like that.

We responded by posting a family member at Katie's bedside 24 hours a day! Each and every day, one of our family would catch the nurses or doctors about to do something bad and we'd stop them! Too much medication, too little medication, not cleaning her properly after going to the bathroom, every problem you can think of.

As you can imagine, it was a difficult time. Compounding this was the fact that there was not one person who we could go to with our complaints. There was no "patient manager." As far as I know, no hospital has implemented this approach, but it is sorely necessary. The patient manager would not have to be trained as a doctor or nurse, just someone with a familiarity of healthcare and a good customer service attitude.

Move this perspective to the holistic center, and you can see even more need for a "holistic patient manager." In a Western medical hospital, everyone subscribes to the same healthcare philosophy - it's Western medicine.

But in a holistic clinic, everyone is coming from different camps. The ayurvedic doctor comes from ancient Indian philosophy, the TCM doctor comes from ancient Chinese ideas, the massage therapist thinks more of the physical muscles, the Bach Flower consultant thinks in terms of vibrations, etc.

Here we need a "patient manager" even more than in the Western medical model. Someone to guide the patient through the practices and plan a system of care for them.

Who does this today? No one. I've seen only one holistic healthcare center with such a person, and she is a valuable person indeed. But that is the only example I've ever seen or read about.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

holistic massagehiholistic massage