Hi my name is Maria and I am a 5th year medical student, who has had the wonderful pleasure of working with the team at ATUNE for four weeks.
In medical school we are presented with patients with complex diseases, and when asked how we would manage a patient we are very quick to blurt out various investigations, medications and surgical options. This is very important knowledge and I'm thankful for the amazing education I have been provided thus far, however what medical students seem to forget is the importance of the role of allied health in the management of disease. In the holistic model of approach to management of a disease, we must look at the patient as a whole, rather than label them with a disease.
Integrated Care in Practice
An analogy for this would be a 46 year old woman with chronic back pain. We can very easily fall into the trap of analysing the different medical and surgical causes of back pain. This is all very important as it can lead to a diagnosis which can be treated. However the holistic approach would be to view this patient for who she really is; a forty-six your old wife and mother of three, who is constantly anxious about juggling work with kids reaching all their sporting and music lessons on time, as well as making sure dinner is served on time at home. A holistic approach would involve taking the time to really talk to this lady and find out more about her life. Many times, an illness can encompass mechanical, psychological and social issues. A doctor using the holistic approach may order some tests for the back pain, but he/she would also offer the patient complimentary therapies to assist her identify other area’s that impacts on her back pain.
A Holistic Approach
Here at ATUNE I was able to be involved in just that; a holistic approach to patients' health! I have seen patients appreciate the fact that they have discovered another avenue for their health and wellbeing. Not only do the allied health professionals assess and manage the various illnesses in integration, they genuinely care about the patients and listen to them.
So, not only do we form great rapport with the patients by using the holistic approach, but the patients achieve excellent results! With a balanced life of healthy eating, exercise, good mental health and regular general practitioner check ups, not only will we look and feel better internally and out, but we will be able to radically reduce the incidence of chronic disease! It is important to promote primary health care as it not only prevents chronic disease and keeps people out of hospital, but in doing so we will be saving money from hospital stays, and decreasing the health burden in our community. It's a win win situation!
Integrated Care at ATUNE
In summary, I am beyond excited that a centre such as ATUNE exists in the Newcastle area, this is the way of the future in our healthcare system! We want to keep people happy and healthy and away from hospitals!
Article by Maria, a 5th year medical student.