Treating symptoms vs. looking at what really makes us sick

A holistic approach to health care optimizes community wellness, creates stronger communities, and improves quality of life for everyone.

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The traditional approach to health care is to treat a symptom.

60% of our health care concerns are directly related to our working and living conditions, yet we spend the majority of our health care budget on hospitals where we treat symptoms.

We need to stop treating symptoms and start addressing the root factors that lead to illness. 

Instead of waiting for people to get sick, a holistic approach to health care focuses on prevention, promoting health and working toward overall well-being. This approach to health care considers the bigger picture, including the health of the broader community. Community Health Centres like London InterCommunity give better service by creating a unique system of care:

Where all are welcome...

  • Accessible. Remove the barriers between the service and the people who need it, like ensuring accessible buildings, websites and hours, offering interpreters and helping with transportation to the centre.
  • Anti-oppressive and culturally safe. It’s about respect and equality.

Where we focus on wellness...

  • Population and needs-based. The right care for those who need it the most. Ensuring limited resources go to the places and people with the greatest need.

  • Interprofessional, Integrated and Coordinated. Health care providers working collaboratively as a team to meet a variety of client needs. Letting each professional do their job to their fullest capacity.

Where we respond to social and community need...

  • Based on the determinants of health. Housing, employment, income, food security, social inclusion and education are all part of a healthy life. By building programs that address these elements, better outcomes happen.

  • Grounded in a Community Development Approach. Build programs with the community, and support community members as they take ownership of the development, stewardship and growth of those programs. Programs like community gardens give participants  a chance to take charge and give back to their neighbours.

Where transparency and collective voice is valued...

  • Community governed. The Health Centre serves the community, and the community has a strong voice in how the Centre is run.

  • Accountable and Efficient. Everyone involved in the Health Centre needs to know that the programs are achieving their goals and the money is well spent.

To ensure a more proactive, wellness-focused system, we have to think differently about how we approach our health.  It's time to move beyond symptoms and tackle what really makes us sick.