Top 12 Qualities of the Ideal Hospital for Chronic Care
I am ending my 5-day stay at Sanoviv hospital (www.sanoviv.org) for a comprehensive health check-up. In pondering the qualities of the ideal hospital and clinic for health check-ups and treatments, I have come to the conclusion that Sanoviv aces my report card. In the end, people who come to an integrative hospital/clinic want what we all want: excellent health, loving care and improved quality of life. Improved knowledge and positive health outcomes are the goals for the check-up or stay. We seem to be stuck in never-ending squabbles about the problems of current and proposed health care. It is great to know that there are some places that raise the bar and show us how an ideal hospital should work.
Besides the mass suffering cause by the S.A.D. eating habits, there is nearly an equal amount of suffering caused by a dysfunctional health care system. The standard American disease (SAD) system sees the disease diagnosis and treatment with drugs of that diagnosis as the target of health care, instead of addressing the complexity of the needs of the whole person and the root of their imbalances. Here are my top 12 qualities of the ideal healing hospital. I am sure there are other great integrative hospitals in addition to Sanoviv. We have some great ones in Europe for instance. It would be fun to hear of any positive experiences that you have had.
- Integrated staff who collaborate. It is ideal to have a multi-disciplinary staff of many specialists from both the conventional and complementary health arenas who pool their knowledge together in designing an information and treatment protocol for each patient. The staff meet together, pool their findings and discuss the ideal program for each patient.
- Expertise and competence. A staff that have excellent training in their fields need to have excellent diagnostic, treatment and communication skills, and be truly motivated to help people. The team should include most of the following: medical doctors, biological dentists, naturopaths, nutritionists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, stress management and lifestyle coaches, personal trainers, physical therapists, etc. Training in functional medicine will give the team a common set of guiding principles in treating root causes and the whole person instead of the disease. It helps to pull the team together into a common system of looking at the patient’s pathophysiology and creating guidelines for an integrative program for healing.
- Diagnostic and treatment equipment. State of the art Western diagnostic equipment should be complemented with Ayurveda, Asian and energy medicine modalities. Imaging, comprehensive lab work, physical and lifestyle assessment can all be integrated with diverse forms of diagnosis and analysis. The sum total of all of these modes of assessment will bring a comprehensive and thorough evaluation. Treatment technology such as microcurrent therapy, energy medicine, etc., should be available to complement more conventional modalities.
- Lifestyle based. The most important factors governing your health are how you think, eat and move in addition to the environment and friends you surround yourself with. Medical and therapeutic treatments should all be supported by a healthy lifestyle. All practitioners in the hospital/clinic should advocate and support healthy lifestyle changes.
- Health education. An integrative clinic or hospital should be excellent in communicating information and inspiration to the patient concerning diagnosis, procedures, treatments, lifestyle choices, etc. Patients should learn more about themselves, their needs, options, choices and steps they can take to progress to a better state of health.
- Personalized assessment and care. An integrative hospital does not treat diseases but addresses the totality and specific needs of the person who has the disease(s). Taking into account genetics, childhood history, epigenetic changes, test reports, personality and the environment leads to a personalized lifestyle and treatment plan. Out of hundreds of different lab and other tests, both the diagnostic tests and the treatment and lifestyle plan are tailored to the unique needs of the individual. This can include a combination of some of the following: surgery, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, energy medicine, chiropractic, counseling, acupuncture and specific lifestyle prescriptions.
- Healing environment. Coming into a healing environment is great when visiting a clinic but even more critical in being admitted to a hospital, especially if you have a life threatening disease. A stressful and impersonal environment is not conducive to success. The physical environment, colours, music, pictures all should be conducive to healing, not stress. Esthetic and natural beauty, such as works of art and flowers and waterfalls are examples of things that uplift the spirit and soul of the patient, better enabling the brain, the immune system and nervous system to work on healing and restoration.
- State of the art integrated treatments. There are numerous traditional and new high tech integrated treatments that are very effective in accelerating the healing process, including: body work treatments, acupuncture, energy medicine, microcurrent, low level laser, hyperbaric oxygen, hyperthermia, neural therapy, prolotherapy and many others. These can be combined to make great strides toward greater health.
- Healing relationships. The team of doctors and practitioners should all communicate care and assurance to the patient. A seriously ill patient is very vulnerable and has a great need for TLC. Cooperation, care, mutual respect and teamwork must be flowing amongst the practitioner team. Together they need to create an atmosphere of hope and healing.
- Organized and purposeful. The integrated clinic or hospital needs to be very well managed, organized and purposeful. Every staff member needs to buy into the vision, mission and team plan for it to work for the best of the patient. All of the staff and environment most be moving toward a common goal. The better organized and efficiently managed, the less there is possibility for confusion and irritation. For the patient, the integrative experience needs to flow very well, due to a diligence to a common mission and direction by the staff. A dedication to providing powerful programs and therapies that work for each patient is a great focus to have.
- Healing living foods and drinks. A functional hospital does not serve sick food to sick patients but serves organic fresh healthy foods that are geared toward the patients needs. Superfoods, medical foods, vibrant juices, green drinks, smoothies and other nutritious foods and drinks are all designed to accelerate and facilitate healing. Disease causing junk foods have no place in a healing environment.
- Affordable. One of the greatest challenges is to make this type of individualized quality system of care affordable. Unfortunately, this is where Sanoviv and other integrative clinics and hospitals struggle. Government and major insurance companies for the most part do not cover the major costs incurred for quality integrative care, even though integrative care with emphasis on lifestyle solutions and personal empowerment are often much less expensive and sustainable than the current drug care model. The studies by Dr. Dean Ornish have demonstrated this, as have other programs. A lifestyle intervention is much cheaper than a conventional triple bypass treatment for many cardiac problems. The grass roots insurance companies, private companies, government plans and private philanthropy need to create a possibility for much larger segments of the population to be able to choose an integrative plan.
Today, most of the patients using these facilities pay out of pocket or only have very limited coverage. This needs to change! This is the only part of the Sanoviv program that is glaringly inadequate, due to the inadequacy of the SAD health care system. Fortunately, Dr. Byron Wentz and other philanthropists are putting their money where their vision and heart are and creating hospitals and facilities such as Sanoviv to help people. Corporate social responsibility needs to be directed into healing integrative hospitals and clinics and more wealthy entrepreneurs like Byron Wentz need to live a legacy by building the future hospitals of integrative health care. The very fact that most of these state of the art integrative hospitals must be built in Mexico, Asia and Europe show the sad state of affairs of the SAD system in the US, where the legal system is stacked against innovation, where the control of the few override the needs of the many.