An Integrated Healthcare Approach
So what does integrated care mean?
Integrated care really simply means healthcare professionals working together in an agreed-upon and structured way. Part of the work we do at Flourish is to help you coordinate your care when there are many different health service providers in your life. These providers can include primary care physicians, specialty care physicians, hospitals and testing services, health educators, case managers, mental health professionals, acupuncturists, chiropractors, dentists, podiatrists, etc. Even beyond healthcare providers, legal, housing, or social services may be part of an integrated care approach. The idea is that this collaborative care is more cost effective because providers aren't duplicating services or working at odds, but rather working together toward a defined goal for the client's health.
We use an integrated approach at Flourish to provide truly holistic care. This is particularly important if you are taking medications for mental health, have an illness that affects your lifestyle, have recently been diagnosed with an illness, are actively engaged in substance abuse treatment, or regularly see another healthcare provider.
Here are some links to work being done to expand integrated care across the country:
The Academy for Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care
California's Integrated Behavioral Care Project
Collaborative Family Healthcare Association
Physical illness affects mental health. Physical pain, physical disabilities, required lifestyle changes to manage your condition, multiple medications, frequent doctor's visits, frequent testing, or multiple hospital stays...these can all cause your quality of life to suffer. You may feel overwhelmed and hopeless about the future. You may have a hard time communicating with the multiple health professionals in your life, or understanding the information you are given about your condition. You may frequently feel sad or worried. You may feel like your body has betrayed you, and a sense of loss for your former self. Working with a mental health counselor during these times can help you: