People need support when it comes to adopting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. This is where a health coach can be a major asset.
More than half of adults in the United States have one chronic disease and around thirty percent have two or more.
Many providers do not know how to counsel patients on healthy living and, if they do, the information and time are limited to very basic solutions. Therefore patients are not thoroughly guided to make lasting changes.
Traditional wellness plans are also proving to be ineffective. This is because providers are telling patients what to do, instead of discussing the best options they have for their health goals. This means that they are not likely to listen or adhere to the recommendations.
Just like a fitness trainer that gets you going, pumps you up for the challenge, and sees you through even when you come up short, that’s not the focus, rather the focus is that you are there giving it your all and ready to keep going because you want to be healthy! That is what a health coach does.
Health coaching: A way to
- Support patients
To help them make meaningful behavior changes that will last a lifetime.
Health and wellness centers on:
- Skilled conversation
- Clinic intervention
- Different strategies
These are aimed to actively and safely engage patients in positive behavior change.
Health coaches partner with the patient wherever they are healthwise, from being healthy and just wanting some new perspective to managing chronic illness and disease.
The point is to help the individual learn and execute self-management techniques. The coach teaches/coaches the individual managing or preventing illness, make informed decisions about care, and participate in healthy
The support provided comes in the form of:
- Setting achievable goals
- Value Identification
This helps develop sustainable healthy attitudes and behaviors.
The patient’s beginning and readiness will determine the correct path. Instructing and helping patients fill out their health history is a good way to set the plan into motion.
Beginning the process
- Figure out where the patient wants to be healthwise
- Their Values
- Their Goals
- Create the plan
- Track the progress
- See the best
- Create a long-term plan
Patients might not know their health status or have a serious diagnosis that they might not be sure of how to explain. This is where a health coach can really breakdown whatever may be going on.
Integrative health and wellness categories include:
Health inventory is for the patient to reflect on where they are and where they want or would like to be.
Evaluation of the patient’s readiness for change to understand the patient’s health, including challenges and how they see where they are currently. And awareness of health risks, experience with a current illness or any symptoms they’re having.
The patient is welcome and encouraged to express their emotions.
The idea of motivational interviewing is about:
- Collaborating with patients and not being an all-knowing expert
- Understanding the motivation of the individual to change rather than telling them why they should change
Principles of motivational interviewing:
- Empathy towards the patient
- Discrepancy where the patient is health-wise and where they want to be
- Supporting the patient’s ability to execute on their own
There is a Transtheoretical Model that includes six stages:
- Precontemplation – Patients do not see any problems and do not realize that their behavior produces negative results. This then underestimates the pros of changing behavior and do not see the problems of their behavior.
- Contemplation – Patients intend to start healthy behavior, but don’t always follow through.
- Preparation – Also called the determination phase, patients are ready to take action. this includes small steps toward behavior change and believing their new behavior can lead to a healthy life.
- Action – The patient is changing and intends to keep going.
- Maintenance – The patient’s behavior change has been for more than six months and they’re sticking to it.
- Termination – The negative behavior has been eliminated.
For each stage, there are different strategies to get through the stage and on to the next until the ideal behavior is achieved.
Allowing time for the patient to find the right coaching plan.
Patients need to figure out what they’d like to change about their current health based on what they see and
the most important changes for them.
Providers encourage the patient to identify their values. Values are what is most important for an individual.
These can be:
Values begin in early childhood and are reevaluated as life goes on, which can change.
Understanding the patient is necessary to get clarity and help the patient build self-awareness for making intelligent decisions and keeping themselves balanced.
To help patients look at their values, a coach might ask questions like:
- What must you have in your life to experience fulfillment?
- What values are essential to your life?
- What values represent your way of being?
For some patients, identifying negative values can be beneficial. as the patient grows and realizes how their health is changing, their values may change.
This information is tailored to create a plan of action along with steps to help the patient make decisions based on their core values.
Two techniques for patient communication and education:
While working with the patient to determine goals and create steps, these tools help to ensure the patient understands their role in the process.
Ask then tell then ask again
Instead of giving patients all kinds of information, coaches ask the patient what they know and what they want to know. Then they tell the patient what they want to know and ask them if they understand and continue with what else they want to know.
Teaching back ensures that the patient understands the plan and asks the patient to repeat back the information about what the patient understands in their words.
If the patient doesn’t understand, the process is repeated until the patient is able to explain the treatment plan back to the coach so everything is crystal clear.
This technique is recognized by several agencies and associations, including the
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Hospital Association
Before setting goals the patients go over the core areas of their life that they want to improve.
These core areas may be very similar to the patient’s values and vision.
Some examples include:
Once a patient has identified what they would like to focus on, a brainstorming session is implemented to what they want to change or improve for each core area.
These can be broken down into smaller goals as part of an ultimate plan of action.
As the patient moves forward they are more motivated and encouraged to take on bigger challenges.
The patient understands what they want to improve.
With the core areas known, the patient goes from their current health status to what they want to achieve.
Consider the following:
- What do I want to achieve?
- Where will I achieve this goal?
- How will I achieve this goal?
- When will I achieve this goal?
- Why do I want to reach this goal?
- What are the possible ways of achieving this goal?
When the patient is ready, the coach will assist in developing it into a:
This type of goal allows for structure and trackability.
It creates clear milestones and estimates the goal’s attainability.
Plan of Attack
Once a health coach understands where the patient wants to go, the next phase is planning.
Patients help in creating their treatment plan.
This plan is an agreement between the patient and the health coach that describes the behavior change that the patient wants to make.
Suggestions and expertise are offered during this process, as their perspective can help the patient.
Example of small exercises of a patient who wants to lose weight:
- Try a new fruit and vegetable
- Different, creative ways to work
- Keep a water bottle with me and refill it every two hours
- Cook healthy dinners
- Walk after dinner every day
These small tasks make it easier for the patient to see their progress.
The coach will check with the patient regularly to make sure they are sticking to the plan.
Progress and Results
Health coaches can ensure a patient has consistent access to motivational support by creating a follow-up plan that goes with their overall treatment plan.
Follow-up care may include schedules for physical exams or tests, and referrals and recommendations in other areas to keep the positive behavior going.
Coaches and patients work together to create realistic goals for the future.
As the patient progresses, the health coach may make additional recommendations or work with the patient to adjust their plan or making sure the patient knows where to turn to if they have questions.
Once goals are being achieved it is important to have support to continue the positive behavior. Traditional sources of support include:
Patients may not always have access to external support, so learning to find support in activities can make a difference in a patient’s overall health. At Injury Medical Chiropractic & Wellness clinic we have a top-rated team of the best health practitioners and our health coach can help you get to where you want to be.
6 Day *DETOX DIET* Treatment | El Paso, TX (2019)
Fred Foreman is a basketball coach who depends on his overall health and wellness to be able to engage in his everyday responsibilities. As a result, coach Foreman started the 6 Day Detox Program, designed to help renew and enhance the human body’s cleansing and detoxification capabilities.
Good health is built on a foundation of diet and exercise. The goal is to improve and maintain a regimen where you eat healthily and exercise regularly over the long-term. You do not have to do anything drastic, either. You will have an easier time making changes if you start small and gradually shift towards a lifestyle that you think is best for you. And a health coach can help you achieve maximum success!