Adopting a Whole Person Mindset
Successful care coordination programs focus on meeting the needs of each individual, beyond healthcare services,
including transportation, home safety, nutrition, and literacy. Care coordination involves addressing more than
the medical needs of a patient and supporting the entire person.
Care coordination should involve patient-centered strategies that emphasize the importance of overall patient
well-being and that include a focus on more than just the medical condition being treated. An important element
this process includes educating and empowering patients to make health decisions in order to manage their own
as well as respecting different cultures and beliefs. It is important that care coordination programs provide
services that connect patients with culturally
competent care, which is care that recognizes:
“diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, including tailoring health care delivery to meet patients' social,
cultural, and linguistic needs.”
Adopting a whole person mindset also involves considering social determinants of
health as important factors in the care coordination process. Access to transportation to get to
appointments, as well as access to nutritious food, a safe home environment, educational opportunities, and
financial resources can all impact health and well-being. For additional information about implementation
considerations related to rural transportation access and food access, see the Transportation Toolkit and Social Determinants of Health in Rural Communities Toolkit.
Providers and care coordinators should also consider the potential impact of trauma as an important social
determinant of health. Trauma
an experience that is:
“physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on an individual's
functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”
Trauma-informed care, or a trauma-informed approach to care coordination, involves care providers having an
understanding about the different types of trauma that people can experience and the potential influence of
on individuals, families, and communities. Rural
coordination programs should be adapted to consider patients' experiences, and care coordinators
should be trained to identify signs of trauma. An understanding of the impacts of trauma can help care
programs better manage the complex needs of patients and understand some of the causes and challenges for
Resources to Learn More
a Culturally Competent Health Care Organization
This guide defines cultural competency in health care and describes how health care organizations can take
to become culturally competent. Describes the benefits of cultural competence and provides case examples of
care organizations following steps outlined in the guide.
Organization(s): American Hospital Association, Health Research & Educational Trust, Institute for
SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma
Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach
This resource provides an overview of trauma and a trauma-informed approach to caring for individuals and
communities who have experienced different forms of trauma. It presents a framework, developed by SAMHSA, which
includes steps for implementing a trauma-informed approach.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Key Ingredients for Successful
This issue brief describes best practices for implementation of successful trauma-informed care. The brief
information collected from interviews with experts on trauma-informed care and highlights steps for
take to adapt practices to address the impact of trauma.
Author(s): Menschner, C. & Maul, A.
Organization(s): Center for Healthcare Strategies, Inc., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation