The role of the primary care provider (PCP) has changed over the years. As the connection between mental and physical health has become more apparent, the PCPs’ approaches to meeting the physical and mental needs of their patients have evolved significantly.
Gone are the days of simply asking, “How are you today?” or “Where does it hurt?” Today’s PCPs also assess a patient’s mental wellbeing.
Taken at face value, the questions PCPs pose during a visit may simply seem like small talk. But when asked by a trained health professional, they become diagnostic tools that reveal much about a patient’s state of mind. Some of the more valuable questions include:
Do you have someone who loves you and cares for you?
Are you happy?
Do you feel stressed?
While no patient is forced to respond to these questions, most do. And, when a PCP receives an answer of “no” or “not sure,” that may set in motion actions that can help, including a referral and a call from one of AdventHealth’s e-spiritual caregivers.
Depending on specific needs, the patient could be referred for additional resources, such as support from local faith communities, family or grief support groups, food banks or housing assistance programs. For some, a prayer or conversation is enough.
As professionals trained in almost all areas of medicine, PCPs can serve as a familiar, comforting and trusted confidante who can capably care for a patient’s body, mind and spirit.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an AdventHealth primary care provider, visit CentralFloridaPrimaryCare.com or call 407-821-3670.
About the Author
Elizabeth Fisher, DO, is a board-certified family medicine physician serving the Dr. Phillips community with whole-person care for ages four and up.