How Might the Holistic Model Help Meet the Mental Health Needs of Older People? The holistic model supports the view that an individual is composed of bio-psycho-social-spiritual components with the main focus on the interconnectedness of the body, mind and the spirit in an individual’s wellbeing…
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The holistic model encourages nurses to constantly look for factors and relations that affect the complexity of health and illness (Keady & Watts 2010). Application of this model in mental health care nursing requires involvement of the whole persons’ wellbeing and the overall quality of life style with the focus of the nursing interventions directed towards restoring overall harmony with a sense of purpose and meaning in an individual’s life. The patient under nursing care is considered a co-participant in health promotion, working closely with the nurse to determine necessary and appropriate interventions over their health condition. Multidisciplinary team assessments and treatment of older people with mental health problems facilitates implementation of the holistic approach to care for and meet the complex health and social needs presented by this group of patients (Gask 2009). According to Corry (2005), the need for holistic approach in the care of people with mental illnesses has been illustrated by a report associating poor physical care with the high rate of deaths among such people in UK. Studies have shown that people with severe mental illness are at greater risk of physical illness attributed to their lifestyle factors and mental condition. Further studies have shown that despite the UK government’s recommendations for physical health assessment among people with severe mental health problems majority of the patients lack any health history or lifestyle management plan (Corry 2005). The physical health of people with severe mental illness especially among the older people remains a major concern with evidence indicating that psychiatric patients have high rates of physical illness that go undetected contributing to increased premature deaths (Neno, Aveyard & Heath 2008). In addition, most people with mild mental illnesses are neglected, with little or no focus in helping them overcome such illness. Older people experience mental illness that is complex, enduring and debilitating and sometimes age with long-standing mental health needs. Older people with enduring mental health problems have several needs requiring professional care including the long-term effects of high doses of psychotropic medication, the erosion of a person’s social skills and ability to adhere to positive healthy life approaches, high use of alcohol and other substance abuse (Keady & Watts 2010). Other issues arising from the application of the non-holistic approach include confusion of some symptoms for aspects of mental illness, including symptoms common in old age such as anoxia, pain, constipation and weight loss. Application of the Holistic Approach or Model All the discussed needs must be addressed amicably if improved mental health and quality of life were to be realized in this group of people hence the need for the holistic approach in managing such needs. A holistic approach is able to integrate physical needs, social, environmental, economic and psychological needs in managing mental illnesses among the older people (Keady & Watts 2010). Through the holistic approach mental health nurses should focus on connecting with the older people and families in their distress, provide security, create trust and good relationship where the people can confident in finding meaning and truth about their situation. In this case, skilled,
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