Holistic Approach to Aged Care Services: Providing Comprehensive and Person-Centred Care

As the population ages, the demand for aged care is increasing. However, traditional approaches to care have often focused solely on the bodily health of the individual, without considering their emotional and social needs. This is where a holistic approach to care services comes in.

A holistic approach to care considers the whole person, not just their bodily health. It recognises that a person’s mental health is just as important as their bodily health and that these aspects of a person’s life are interconnected. By taking this approach, care providers can help to improve the quality of life for their clients, promoting independence, dignity and a sense of purpose.

In a holistic care approach, the focus is on the individual, not the sickness or condition. Care programs are tailored to each person’s unique needs and preferences, with a focus on maintaining their independence and autonomy. This approach also emphasises the importance of communication and collaboration between the care provider, the client and their family members or support network. By working together, everyone can ensure that the client’s needs are met in a way that is respectful, compassionate, and effective.


Understanding Holistic Aged Care

For aged care, this approach is becoming increasingly popular. This approach recognises that a person’s physical, emotional, and social needs are all interconnected and must be addressed as a whole. Holistic care involves considering the individual’s goals and preferences and providing support that is tailored to their unique needs.


Key Principles of a Holistic Approach

Holistic care involves a person-centred approach, so the individual is at the centre of all care decisions. This approach recognises that each person is unique and has their own needs, preferences and goals. Key features of this approach to aged care include:

  • Treating the entire person, not just their symptoms
  • Focusing on prevention and wellness, rather than just treating illness
  • Providing care that is individualised and person-centred
  • Encouraging and supporting the individual’s independence and autonomy
  • Involving the individual in their care decisions and planning
  • Providing care that is culturally sensitive and respectful


The Role of Allied Health Professionals

Allied healthcare professionals play an important role in residential aged care, providing holistic residential care services to the community and seniors. These professionals include physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dietitians and speech therapists, among others. They work together with other care providers to ensure that the individual’s physical and social needs are all addressed.

For example, a physiotherapist may work with an individual to improve their mobility and reduce their risk of falls. An occupational therapist may help the individual to adapt their home environment to their support needs and make it safer and more accessible. A dietitian may work with the individual to develop a healthy eating plan that takes into account any medical conditions they may have.


Two woman walking alongside eachother by a pool, one with the assistance of a walking frame.

Incorporating Personal Goals and Preferences

In a holistic care approach for aged care, the individual’s age, goals and preferences are an important consideration. This means that care providers must take the time to get to know the individual and understand their age and unique needs and desires.

For example, an individual may have a goal of remaining living independently in their own home for as long as their physical health allows. Care providers can work with the individual to develop a full care plan that supports this goal like using medications, providing home care services or making modifications to their home environment.

Incorporating goals and preferences into care planning can help improve the individual’s overall quality of life, promote independence and autonomy, and ensure that they receive care tailored to their unique needs.


Implementing Holistic Care in Aged Services

Holistic aged care is an approach to medical care and treatment that considers the entire person as anyone would hope for a loved one, including the impact on their mental and social needs in all decisions. In aged care services, implementing holistic medical treatment can significantly improve the welfare of elderly individuals.

Commonly, holistic care involve the following:


Physical and Medical Support Strategies

The body’s condition is a crucial and key aspect of this approach to aged care services and for many seniors. Aged care providers must ensure that patients and families of their clients receive appropriate medical advice, treatment and assistance to manage chronic pain and maintain cognitive function for good health. Massage therapy can be an effective way for patients to alleviate chronic pain and improve mobility, as can observation and tracking of their sleep habits with the hope of monitoring for changes.


Two people holding hands, showing love and connection.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Mental and social activity and well-being are equally important in aged care services. Providers of elderly care must ensure that their aged care clients receive adequate assistance to manage and control any cognitive conditions and distress and that they feel valued. Music therapy can be a useful tool to improve mood and reduce anxiety among elderly individuals and allowing them to make choices regarding the music selected benefits their feelings of respect from staff and each other. It also provides visitors opportunities to connect with aging loved ones in a way that promotes their cognitive and physical well-being.


Social and Spiritual Enrichment

Social and spiritual enrichment is an essential component of a holistic approach to aged care services. Providers must ensure that their aged care clients can have access to social activities that promote engagement in community and interaction with others. Spiritual needs should also be considered, with opportunities for prayer, meditation or other practices provided as required.

Implementing a holistic approach in aged care services is critical to ensuring that elderly individuals receive the support and assistance they need to maintain their physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being. By providing appropriate support strategies, promoting cognitive well-being, and offering social and spiritual enrichment, aged care providers can significantly improve the quality of life for their clients.


Final Thoughts

A holistic approach to aged care services recognises the importance of addressing the social, and spiritual needs of individuals, besides their bodily well-being. By tailoring care plans to each person’s unique needs and preferences, promoting independence and autonomy, and involving the individual in their care decisions, aged care providers can improve the quality of life for their clients.

Health professionals play a crucial role in providing holistic care and personal support to older adults, and incorporating the goals and preferences of older adults into care planning is essential as well as accommodating when or if a client’s preferences change. Implementing holistic care and support strategies, including bodily and other

are and support, mental well-being, and social enrichment can significantly benefit and enhance the well-being of elderly individuals in aged care services.