Our nation’s ongoing healthcare debate has brought a healthy shift in focus towards wellness, disease prevention and management of health risks. Most people seek medical help for problems related to chronic, lifestyle-related issues. Doctors treat the symptoms and provide guidance for ongoing care, but they don’t have time or access to help the patient once they leave the office.
Although it’s a relatively new phenomenon in the world of health and wellness, health coaches are just what the doctor ordered. These non-clinical, specially trained health advocates are commonly found in corporate settings as part of wellness programs. However, the concept is gaining traction with insurance providers, such as Medicare, which has started paying for up to 20 obesity counseling sessions a year. Several recent studies have shown health coaching to be effective in improving overall health of those with chronic conditions such as type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity and tobacco use.
Health and wellness coaching is a relational outreach offering education, encouragement and accountability for healthy, sustainable behavior change. Health coaches challenge you to find your internal motivations, identify your values, and put your goals into action. Here are four ways a health coach can help you reach your goals.
You need to be able to trust the person who will help you engage in a new lifestyle. Health coaches want to earn trust and build rapport with you so they can help you each step of the way.
Health coaches help you find your internal motivating factors so you can formulate personal goals for healthy lifestyle changes – rather than telling you what to do because your doctor said so.
A new vision for life and wellness empowers you to reach for your highest potential in the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial areas of life. Your coach will help you set specific and safe goals to move in the right direction.
You and your coach will agree on a plan to track and evaluate progress. Your coach will help you focus on successes, even if the goal is not yet achieved. Positive feedback will help you progress and move through any negative self-talk, ambivalence, resistance and other hurdles.
Health coaching is increasingly being implemented by Home Health programs to provide transitional care from hospital to home. Statistically, 10% of all hospital admissions and nearly 15% of all emergency room visits are due to non-compliance with medical advice and not taking medications as prescribed. This focus on wellness and preventative care for at-risk patients at home has proven effective in reducing avoidable rehospitalizations and emergent care visits for a month or more following hospital discharge.
Covenant Home Health Care in Northwest Florida offers its Health Coach Transitional Care Program for high-risk patients receiving care at home. To learn more, please visit www.choosecovenant.org/services/home.