The cost of health care is unsustainable. According to the Fraser Institute report, it rates as the single largest budget item for every province in Canada. A recent CBC article showed that 70 % of health care expenses currently treat only 30% of the population. Older people are far more likely to have multiple chronic complaints. Since the ageing population is growing, the cost of healthcare is also growing.
For efficiency’s sake, health care has become “industrialized”. There are clear guidelines using standardized checklists, new protocols and IT support systems. The focus is on improving the care of individual diseases, such as heart disease, asthma or depression. As a result, the individual is often overlooked, with one size fitting all.
People who fill GPs’ waiting rooms and hospital out-patient departments usually have more than one condition. So, how does this focus on single diseases make sense for the patient who has multiple conditions?
Prevention is Key to sustainability
In England, an all-party report pointed to the need for a whole person approach to health delivery focusing on prevention. It saw complementary, preventive and natural medicine rescuing the NHS (National Health Services) from bankruptcy.
Patients with complex needs can’t be managed in a ten minute consultation. Care should be more tailored to the individual’s needs, priorities and lifestyle. However, that takes time.
Homeopaths typically spend over an hour in the initial consultation. My approach to homeopathic medicine relies on getting to know the person. We tailor a treatment plan that promotes the body’s self-healing abilities. We do this by exploring what is unique about the patient. What was stressful when the problems first began? What was the patient’s reaction? How did the stress affect them physically and emotionally?
Homeopathy Promotes Sustainability
A 2016 Harvard School of Public health study points to the potential public health benefits of homeopathy. Incorporating homeopathy into mainstream medicine can lower health care costs. Studies show homeopathy can reduce unnecessary antibiotic usage. It can improve health outcomes in chronically ill individuals. It is a safe and effective way to manage pain. Moreover, it can be used at home, lowering hospital visits.
Biochemistry, or Bioenergy?
Promoting our body’s natural defense mechanism is a fundamental aspect of the homeopathic approach. Along with healthy lifestyle choices, it can play a key roll in preventive medicine.
Modern medicine is based on the biochemical model. In contrast, homeopathic medicine relies on bio-energy. It is easy to criticize homeopathy given its emphasis on the principles of Vitalism. When our life force is out of balance, symptoms appear. Assuming that the chronic illness has not advanced too far, restoring balance facilitates the body’s healing abilities.
Making Homeopathy More Accessible
In 2015, Ontario became the only province in Canada to initiate regulation of homeopathy. On April 1, 2015, Ontario officially proclaimed homeopathy to be part of regulated health care. Over 500 homeopathic practitioners have become registered since then. Meanwhile, in 2016, the government of Switzerland also recognized complementary therapies, including homeopathy, as having the same status as conventional medicine.
These trends point to public demand. They also point to government recognition that holistic and preventive health care is needed for sustainability.