Whole Person Care & Telehealth

What Is It?

Integrated behavioral health care includes whole person wellness with the individual as part of the team and care includes both the individual and their support system. The movement towards integrated behavioral health emphasizes the importance of whole person health. Holistic care refers to caring for the whole person.

Technology supported care includes telehealth (phone conversations) and virtual health (provider can see the client) for behavioral health care. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, trends show some increased interest in use of telehealth services by both health care providers and clients. However, recent policy changes during the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced barriers to telehealth access and have promoted the use of telehealth as a way to deliver acute, chronic, primary and specialty care. Telehealth can also improve patient health outcomes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). 

Reference:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Using Telehealth to Expand Access to Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved on December 2, 2020 from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/telehealth.html#:~:text=%2D%20Screen%20patients%20who%20may,%2C%20and%20refer%20as%20appropriate. 

Who We Serve

The Behavioral Health Work Group’s strategies target adults ages 19 to 44 in the 28609 zip code (Town of Catawba) and surrounding area, with focus on the rural community and working with churches. Of emergency department visits for anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders, 39.7% were for adults ages 19 to 44. Community members age 19 to 44 in the 28609 zip code had a higher number of emergency department visits for anxiety, mood, and psychotic disorders compared to other zip codes and age groups in Catawba County. 

Experience and Importance

The Behavioral Health Work Group's action plan includes the following strategies related to whole person care and telehealth. The work group recognizes the importance of focusing on evidence-based strategies. Action steps related to the following strategies are discussed and updated during monthly work group meetings. 

Strategies: Whole Person Care & Technology Supported Care

  • Behavioral health primary care integration, including bringing mental health screenings into primary care settings and Integrative care team approach (holistic)
  • Telehealth and virtual health expansion and outreach, including education on community benefits of using these options. [Technology supported care includes telehealth (phone conversations) and virtual health (provider can see the client) for behavioral health care.]

Policy Agenda: Equitable Access to Whole Person Care

  1. We advocate for wellness that incorporates the whole person, mind and body, for all community members.
  2. We believe all community members should have equitable and timely access to care which includes medications, medical equipment, and primary care (whether in-person or via telehealth) regardless of ability to pay.
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