PRP048: Clinical Approaches to Whole Person Assessment: A Systematic Review

Hayley Thomas, BSc, MBBS, FRACGP; MEGAN BEST, MD, PhD, MA; David Chua, PhD, BAppSc; Johanna Lynch, PhD, MBBS, Grad Cert Health Studies (Grief and Loss)


Context: A whole person (WP) approach to care is best practice, particularly with increasing complex multimorbidity. Primary care defines itself by its relational, WP approach. However, multiple authors, including international family practice groups, have identified that WP care is poorly defined and researched. Some suggested that family practitioners (FPs’) rhetorical commitment to WP care does not translate into practice. Previous research conducted by these authors defined WP care and highlighted the need to integrate physiology and life experience into assessment processes. To translate these findings into practice, it is necessary to identify existing approaches to “WP” clinical assessment. Objective: To identify and compare clinical approaches to WP assessment applicable to family practice. Study Design: Systematic review. Literature will be screened by two independent reviewers. Quality appraisal will be performed and data extracted and analysed using content analysis within framework synthesis. Setting: MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycInfo and ATLA Religion databases were searched (unlimited date range). Reference lists of included studies will be hand searched, and experts in the field consulted to identify grey literature. Population Studied: Systematic reviews, narrative reviews, original research, clinical guidelines, narrative pieces, book chapters and clinical training materials. Medicine, allied health, nursing, mental health and pastoral care literature is eligible. Included literature will describe quantitative tools or qualitative descriptions of clinical approaches to perform WP assessment that are designed for patient and/or clinician completion; broadly applicable; and include physical, psychological and at least one other aspect of the person or their context. Single disease specific approaches; approaches not feasible within community family practice (due to time, training or inpatient requirements) and non-English literature will be excluded. Outcomes to be Reported: This research will generate a framework comparing clinical approaches to WP assessment. It will compare their types, geographic and disciplinary context, conceptual basis, content and validation. This will determine whether a well-articulated approach to WP assessment suitable for family practice exists, providing a basis to develop (if necessary), implement and evaluate such an approach. This is particularly relevant for patients for whom traditional approaches are inadequate.

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