#NaBloPoMo Day 17: Holistic Health Reincarnation

I wanted to write some more about a shift in my focus on the kind of care I give to others. Istarted to discuss this the other day, but I did not really talk about how I am wanting to combine my healing efforts and offer a more “full service” or holistic kind of care to my clients.

For a long time now, I have been primarily focusing on providing perinatal care for homebirthing families in Pittsburgh (and previously in Oklahoma). I have offered other care and services to those families as well as other people, but it has always been random and not well advertised.

One of the main reasons that I have had this on my mind for some time has been because of the concept of the “primary care provider”. It occurred to me about a year ago that I *am* the primary care provider (PCP) for many people. I am the one that they call first, regardless of the problem and whether or not it is within my abilities to address it. This has had me thinking about what exactly a PCP is for most people.

It seems to me that a PCP is someone that a person trusts and whose opinion on health (and possibly other) matters they value and respect above others. It does not seem to matter if said PCP does not have the skill set or scope of practice to address the nature of the problem. The only way that I can describe it is kind of like calling one’s mum for advice; people call their mums (and some fathers too) for advice on everything: financial, health, relationship, emotional, and spiritual matters. It seems to help if the PCP and the person calling on them share similar lifestyles or beliefs.

In my case, I am frequently the person that clients call whenever they, their loved ones, or close friends are sick, even before they might consider calling on the physician listed as their “PCP” on their insurance cards. It seems natural for this to happen since the majority of folks I attend births for do not go to the doctor unless they are on Death’s door or in need of surgery. Most of them desire and utilise alternative health and medicinal modalities, such as homeopathy, herbalism, acupuncture, and energy work. Since I have at least spent several months serving as their midwife (if not years as their friend), seen them at their most vulnerable moments, and helped many of them adjust to the transition into Parenthood, they know, trust, respect, and like me. Naturally, I am the person they think of when they need help.

I had not really internalised this reality until about a year ago and even then, I tried to ignore the truth of it. The more I have tried to deny or ignore this truth and reality, the more demands for my services have been made. I recently decided to stop ignoring and instead embrace the role that my community has given me.

So what does this mean? This means that I will be:

  • consulting with some of my trusted friends and colleagues about my services, their services, and how we might be able to combine forces.
  • rethinking exactly what services I can and will provide/offer to all clients, not just to gestating/birthing clients.
  • revamping my professional website to reflect all of the services I will provide for my community.
  • doing a little bit of re-branding that will be necessary to reflect a more holistic approach to my health care services.
  • reorganising my workspace at home to accommodate the larger volume of supplies I will be needing on hand at all times.
  • designing new postcards, business cards, and letterhead.
  • addressing overhead costs so that I can maintain my commitment to accessibility via sliding scale fees, bartering, and pay-what-you-can/donations.
  • accounting for possible initial financial outlays and identifying sources for funding.
  • and re-evaluating how I approach marketing my services.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a significant start and gets some of the larger obstacles out of the way up front.

Some people might be concerned or worried about the concept of PCP being used. I will not actually be labelling myself as a “primary care provider”. Let it be clear that I am no doctor, nor do I care to pretend to be one and I most certainly do not practice medicine. However, two things have remained clear and obvious over the years during my work: 1) people see me as, treat me as, and have even referred to me as their primary care provider and 2) I possess a multitude of skills, talents, gifts, and knowledge that are both relevant and beneficial to the people seeking out my services and advice. I have no desire to replace or usurp the need for actual medical services or consultation and will happily refer clients to these resources when appropriate (just as any PCP refers out to specialists as needed).

This shift in focus has been a long time coming both from me and for my community. There are other professionals that I know who are also feeling this energy pushing them to redefining the work that they do, what they offer their clients, and taking the necessary steps to better market and position themselves within the alternative holistic healthcare world.

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