The definition of health stated by the WHO: “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being…” (1947), deals with only three primary aspects of health. However, specialists nowadays should consider many other aspects, such as spiritual, emotional, and even political ones. Health includes well-being in social, physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions, ability to cope with everyday responsibilities, adaptation to different situations, and striving to the optimum balance (Potter et al., 2017). One of the spiritual factors influencing health is maintaining hope and finding meaning in life, which might be crucial in patients with a chronic illness.
I will use “The Pathway Model” by McGrady and Moss (2018) as a basis for the wellness paradigm for elderly patients with chronic illness. It is based on self-analysis, the collaboration between a patient and a therapist, and a spiritual approach. In that way, I start the introduced wellness paradigm by focusing on multi-aspect treatment. On the second level, my patients should learn how to set personal goals for their health improvement, which is done in the active dialogue between patients and me as a professional (McGrady & Moss, 2018). I also will teach clients to utilize spiritual relaxation techniques and imagery to focus away from their pain, learn to prepare and anticipate their discomfort, and use the growth mindset to maintain positive health behavior (McGrady & Moss, 2018). According to McGrady and Moss, the treatment of patients with a chronic illness should include work with a personal energy budget (2018). Trying to stay away from physical tension and mental anxiety, my clients will rebuild their daily habits and develop a sense of control. I could use many alternative therapies along with basic treatment, conforming with clients’ preferences, religion, and experience.
Nowadays, researchers provide certain evidence of the body-mind-spirit approach. For example, reminiscence can help to relieve anxiety for a patient with memory loss (Potter et al., 2017). Music therapy, relaxation practices, and breathing exercises can help clients soothe their pain (Potter et al., 2017). McGrady and Moss also provide the results of research by Jahnke, Larkey, Etnier, Rogers, and Lin, 2010, that concluded that the effects of therapies (Tai Chi and Qi Gong) improved physical functions, immune conditions, heart, lungs, and bones (McGrady & Moss, 2018). Dean Ornish provides a series of studies that show essential improvements in patients with cardiovascular illness when they received a multi-directional treatment and lifestyle change, using meditation, yoga, and stress management (McGrady & Moss, 2018). All these positive results demonstrate the valuable implementation of spirituality in a wellness paradigm.
I believe the body-mind-spirit approach to wellness can dramatically improve my effectiveness. As a professional with such an approach to treatment, I will get a holistic view of the well-being, apply the individual method to everyone, and build a supportive relationship with patients (McGrady, Moss, 2018). McGrady and Moss state that practitioners become open to different spiritual experiences, such as meditation, prayer, and other practices (2018). I will be more open-minded and more effective in inspiring my patients to find inner resources for healing. Moreover, patients become more active and therefore interested in the process. Changing their lifestyle and giving up bad habits, they help me, their practitioner, as well as themselves.
In conclusion, the spiritual dimension is an integral part of the wellness paradigm for elderly patients with a chronic illness that recognizes the effectiveness of complementary and alternative practices, such as relaxation, meditation, prayer, etc. There is a certain interconnection between the body, mind, and spirit of a human being that I will effectively use in my practice.
McGrady, A., & Moss, D. (2018). Integrative pathways: navigating chronic illness with a mind-body-spirit approach. Springer.
Potter, P. A., Perry, A. G., Stockert, P. A., & Hall, A. M. (2017). Potter and Perry’s Fundamentals of Nursing: Second South Asia Edition. (2017). Elsevier Health Sciences.