Integrative Palliative Approach

October 8, 2021, Integrative Medicine

In honor of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, a Gilchrist mind-body specialist describes the Integrative Palliative approach to compassionate care.

Mind-Body Specialist, Integrative and Palliative Care
Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm
Gilchrist Mind-Body Specialist, Integrative and Palliative Care

As specialists in Integrative Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care, we reach for the foundational skill of listening every time we meet with patients and families. We listen to understand, we listen to contemplate, and we listen to create action. We listen to our own and other people’s thoughts and beliefs, we pay attention to our own and other people’s physical needs, and we honor everyone’s spirit. Integrative Palliative Medicine and Hospice Care, seen through this lens of listening and paying attention to mind, body, and spirit, highlights compassionate care.

The Integrative Palliative approach strives to touch the whole person. Beginning with our mind, we know that thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs pervade every encounter. Our mind creates the pervasive lens through which we see the world. First listening to ourselves, trained through reflective practices of self-awareness, we walk in a room aware and ready to be responsive. From this strength, we listen and reach for stories as part of compassionate care. Listening to patients and their stories is integral to the delivery of compassionate, customized care. Feeling heard is part of encouraging patient empowerment within a complex healthcare world.

As we care for our bodies, we know that we feel both physical and emotional pain. From this awareness, Integrative and Palliative Medicine evaluates both emotional and physical pain to arrive at a care plan customized to a patient’s hopes, dreams, and values. Understanding pain as specific and fluid, full of history and perspective, can guide compassionate care. Thinking creatively and courageously begins to address and alleviate pain. 

Recognizing spirit through the Integrative and Palliative Medicine perspective opens the door to contemplative and wholehearted care. Standing in the belief of a solitary brightness, we care with a deep intention to find solace for suffering and provide compassionate soothing. Connecting to this expansive and loving embrace lets us open the door wide for an inclusive stance of belonging and awe. Patients can move through choice with a connection to their values and goals.

Finally, recognizing that mind, body, and spirit are all connected and cannot be separated, we join with a philosophy that offers Integrative Palliative Medicine and can then transition to Hospice Care. By listening to patients’ fears, hopes and dreams, we help connect as a team to create a thoughtful care plan through the life and death process.

Through mind, body, and spirit, we connect and share. We see the gift of self-care and resilience and offer the gift of a listening spirit. We close burden’s sticky door for patients and caregivers through listening and offering compassion. In the circle of care, we listen to one another and stand as sturdy companions for the whole journey.

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