Build Your Healthcare Team

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“Most people spend more time looking for their next car than they do looking for their doctor.”
-Cleveland Clinic

One of the most important and proactive steps that you can take in your healthcare journey is assembling a healthcare team that will nourish and support all aspects of your health – with you at the center. Oftentimes, we think of healthcare providers as only the standard western medicine practitioners: like doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other providers typically found in a traditional health system or network. These providers are key players on your healthcare team, and they are critical to your success. However, to tip the scales most in your favor, you’ll need to focus on more than just western medicine treatments and protocols. This means incorporating evidence-based practices and lifestyle modifications that will benefit all aspects of your health and well-being. Just as doctors and nurses support our physical health, a wide range of experts in other aspects of healthcare are available to support an integrative approach to health and healing. Explore the below areas of healthcare to familiarize yourself with some of the types of practitioners that support holistic health:

Western Medicine

 Primary care doctor (family medicine, general practitioner, internist,                        OB/GYN)
 Specialty physician (such as a neurologist, oncologist, endocrinologist, or any       other doctor who practices in a specialty area)
 Pharmacist
 Dentist
 Nurse practitioner
 Physicians Assistant

Complementary Medicine System

 Doctor of Oriental Medicine
 Ayurvedic practitioner
 Homeopathic practitioner (usually licensed medical doctor or healthcare               practitioner)
 Naturopathic physicians
 Traditional naturopaths

Complementary Medicine Therapies

 Licensed Massage therapist
 Licensed Acupuncturist
 Yoga Instructor
 Arts therapist (dance, art, music therapy)
 Chiropractor
 Medical Intuitive

Support System

 Social worker
 Case Manager
 In-home health aide
 Support group leader

Stress Managment

 Therapist
 Social Worker
 Counselor
 Meditative movement (tai chi, qi gong, yoga) provider
 Licensed acupuncturist
 Licensed massage therapist

Well-being

 Therapist, counselor, or psychologist (mental, emotional, or behavioral                      health)
 Social Worker
 Counselor
 Arts therapist (dance, art, music therapy)
 Occupational therapist
 Psychologist

*Well-being is a broad term that means different things to different people; a variety of professionals or practitioners may contribute to one’s overall well-being by enhancing quality of life, health, or outlook

Spirituality

 Spiritual or religious leader

Nutrition

 Registered dietician (R.D.)
 Certified nutrition specialist (CNS)

Exercise

 Physical therapist
 Occupational therapist
 Exercise instructor (yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, swimming, etc…)
 Personal trainer

Answer the below questions to help you identify your health and wellness priorities and the practitioners that can help you address them.

  • Which aspect(s) of my healthcare do I need or want to address?
  • What professionals or expert practitioners exist to help me in addressing these healthcare needs?
  • How do I locate them? What are the organizations that credential this type of practitioner?

It is very important to inform each of your healthcare providers about all of the treatment approaches you are using. This is particularly important if you choose an integrative medicine approach that involves healthcare providers or treatments from several different medical providers.

 

TIP: Download and complete the My Integrative Healthcare Team reference sheet, developed by the Caring Ambassadors Program. Keep this document with your medical records or in the back of Your Healing Planner©. Update it when needed, provide it to your healthcare practitioners or loved ones as appropriate, and refer to it as needed to contact members of your healthcare team or simply as a reminder of the many types of practitioners who contribute to health and healing.