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‘Why Health Coaches Are Behavior Change Ninjas’
by Dr. Hyman www.drhyman.com
‘The Doctor’s Pharmacy: Minisode 63
Most health plans, whether they’re about losing weight, exercising more, or quitting bad habits, aren’t designed to last. This is because they’re based on an incorrect assumption that all you need is willpower and motivation. In truth, we all need a support system to help guide us toward sustainable behavior and lifestyle change. And the reality is that the majority of healthcare actually happens outside of the doctor’s office.
In this mini-episode, Dr. Hyman speaks with Dr. Rangan Chatterjee and Chris Kresser about why behavior change recommendations from healthcare providers are largely ineffective, and why having the support of a health coach can make all the difference in achieving your health goals.
Health Coach on Men’s Journal/USA
posted by Institute for Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Over here at Integrative Nutrition, we’ve been seeing the ripple effect for some time, and now the media is beginning to take note of our global wellness movement.Case in point: an article in Men’s Journal titled “The Rise of the Health Coach.” http://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/health/the-rise-of-the-health-coach-20131206
The piece unpacks why Health Coaches are so essential in our current medical system, and the impact they’re beginning to have on how doctors interact with their patients. Specifically, while doctors continue to own the role of diagnosing diseases and prescribing medicines, Health Coaches are increasingly tasked with helping patients implement daily lifestyle changes.
This underscores the point Dr. Oz made in his recent interview, with Integrative Nutrition founder Joshua Rosenthal, that Health Coaches need to function as an added layer between doctors and patients.
Dr. Frank Lipman, an Integrative Nutrition teaching expert, is quoted in the article, explaining that “most of the problems people go to their doctors for are chronic, lifestyle-related questions, and doctors don’t have the time to treat them. Health Coaches can give patients specific recipes and hold their hands.”
The piece goes on to explain just what Health Coaches are and the powerful impact they can have on clients, and highlights Integrative Nutrition as a “prominent” center offering a Health Coaching Training program.
As more and more people awaken to their need for Health Coaches amid the global health crisis, it’s inevitable that publications like this will begin to call out the trend, and for insurance companies and employers to respond in kind. One company mentioned in the article, Humana, now offers on-site Health Coaches as part of their benefits packages.
The result of the rise of the Health Coach? Healthier, happier people. As one Health Coach client is quoted as saying in the article, one of the greatest things about Health Coaches is that they are like “an advocate for your well-being.”
Do you need a Health Coach?
by Donna Fuscaldo
When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s more than just what you eat and how you exercise. The quality and quantity of your sleep, how you deal with stress and your emotional well-being also play a role in your overall health. While doctors and physicians can diagnosis and treat illnesses, health coaches can teach preventative measures that thwart a visit to a doctor altogether.
“Physicians don’t have enough time to spend with their patients going over nutrition, lifestyle and stress reduction,” says Kerrie Martin, a holistic health and nutrition counselor and founder of health coaching practice Live In Rhythm. “Health coaches serve to fill that gap.”
Health coaches are a relatively new phenomenon in the health and fitness world and the practice differs from personal training. A personal trainer tends to tell clients how much to exercise and in some cases, what to eat, a health coach will do that plus discuss ways to reduce stress, increase rest, and focus on improving the overall quality of life—not just in the gym.
Health coaches are commonly found in corporate settings as part of wellness programs, but they are slowly infiltrating the private market. These coaching sessions, which can cost anywhere from $50 to $150 an hour, tend not to be covered by medical insurance, the growing demand and interest from doctors could change that down the road.
According to Melinda Huffman, principal at Miller & Huffman Outcome Architects and co-founder of the Notational Society of Health Coaches, demand for health coaches has grown exponentially, largely because research has found it’s more effective to discuss a treatment plan with a patient than to simply prescribe a medicine and hope that they take it.
“When you manage a patient you give them this or that information and send them on their way,” says Huffman. Health coaching gives patients the opportunity to figure out how a treatment plan will impact their life, she says.
For many people, health coaching is about how to eat better, lose weight or feel more energized. But it can also be used for more specific problems. According to Martin, people use health coaches for digestive problems, fertility issues and even chronic or terminal diseases like cancer or heart disease. “There’s so much conflicting information out there that a health coach can help individuals decipher all the information,” says Martin.
Health coaches aren’t for everybody. On top of the cost, which can get expensive the longer you see a health coach, people typically have to commit to more than one session. While a person can see a health coach just one time, many recommend entering a three to six month program—after all, change doesn’t usually happen overnight.
Health coaches aren’t doctors, which means they can’t prescribe medicine nor are they able to diagnosis illnesses. Many health coaches are certified through education programs like the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
According to Dr. Roger Jahnke, chief executive of consulting and training firm Health Action, which uses the The Circle of Life Health & Wellness Coaching Method, the fact that they aren’t doctors is a benefit for the people seeking health coaches. “People with medical degrees think about health intervention,” says Jahnke. “It’s an allusion that medicine is prevention–it’s intervention. Prevention is people taking care themselves.” Jahnke details health coaches support participants by creating and executing a plan–not telling them a generic plan that doesn’t take into account different situations and life parameters. “The coach is there to support a person making reasonable plan.”
When a Health Coach is better than a Doctor
By Delia Quigley for Care2.com
It’s the latest, and some say the fastest growing, career for individuals interested in health and nutrition. The health coach is a new breed of healthcare professional whose job is to guide individuals through the minefield of dietary and lifestyle change. They support clients to make behavioral changes by utilizing techniques such as goal setting, identifying obstacles, and just good old positive reinforcement and support. It is kind of like having a best friend to discuss why you went back for that third helping of double Dutch ice cream; but with no judgment and plenty of sound advice.
A common complaint is that busy doctors spend little time helping a patient make better dietary choices. They are needed to provide a diagnosis and then treat according to an allopathic, pharmacological protocol. A good doctor might mention that the patient should cut down on saturated fat, but offer no further instructions as to how this should be done.
Enter the health coach who provides the assistance that the medical establishment cannot. This is accomplished by partnering with a client to create an individualized program based on achievable goals, regular contact, motivational encouragement and the understanding that each individual is unique and no dietary program is one-size-fits-all.
The Integrative Nutrition program, a well-respected Health Coach training, instructs students in how to support their clients in achieving all of their fitness, health, relationship, and career goals. Now that’s a tall order and one that needs the right kind of training. Unless coming from a previous job in medicine, health coaches are not medically trained. They are trained to help facilitate a positive outcome in programs for weight loss, quitting smoking, managing diabetes, eating a quality diet and getting the right types of exercise. Training can consist of years of intensive instruction with multiple instructors to a 2-week online certification course. As you can see, it is best to do some research before hiring just anyone as your coach.
In 2010 Dr. Karen Lawson, Program Director for the Health Coaching track at theUniversity of Minnesota and Margaret Moore, Co-Director of the Harvard Institute of Coaching, took the initiative to create national standards for health coach training. As quoted in the article, Can Health Coaches Help Fix Our Healthcare System? By Monique Brouillette, Dr. Lawson states, “There is a huge lack of understanding from within most conventional healthcare clinicians as to what health coaching is and how it is different from case management, disease management, nurse education and health navigators. Part of the need is for us to come up with a cohesive definition and clarification of credentials to be able to hold our own in this ground where there is a lot of confusion.” This clarification could lead to health coaches becoming a big part of the primary care system with possible pay-per-service reimbursement.
Although hiring a health coach is an out of pocket expense, you might want to consider the special advantages to having a personal health trainer- especially to help get you over obstacles that prevent moving forward with your diet and exercise goals. Having a trained health coach to talk to may just be the key that allows you to move your life from ordinary to extraordinary. Consultations can be done by phone from wherever you are, so no need to leave home for an appointment and a little guidance from someone who cares can go along way towards helping you find optimal health and well-being.
The Wall Street Journal
Help me get fit, Coach
They don’t carry whistles or bench you after a bad night, but health coaches increasingly are helping patients up their game in terms of wellness.
Health coaches are typically nurses, dietitians, diabetes educators, social workers or pharmacists who contact health-plan members with chronic medical conditions or those at high risk of developing them.
Their main mission: Help patients confront challenges such as managing their medications, losing weight and increasing their physical activity levels—all of which can lead to less pain and lower medical costs over time.
Health coaches often use motivational interviewing techniques to help people build confidence, set personal health goals and stick to them. Coaches may ask participants to keep a journal of their daily eating habits or blood-sugar readings, for example, so participants can monitor their progress and alert the coach to obstacles.
Some primary-care doctors, pressed to address patients’ complex medical needs in short visits, are training their medical assistants to coach as part of a team-based approach to care. Coaches can offer patients emotional support and serve as a liaison to the doctor, says Heather Bennett, a family physician in San Francisco who has trained health coaches. “Health coaching is a nice way to give patients extra health care without paying extra money for doctors’ visits, which might not be the right thing for diet and exercise anyway,” she says.
Meantime, more employers are asking for coaching services that target total well-being, says Janet Calhoun, vice president of strategy, innovations and solutions for Healthways, a company that offers health-improvement products, based in Franklin, Tenn. “When people have a balance of physical, social and emotional health,” she says, “they cost less [to the company]…and they’re much more productive in that they miss fewer days of work.”
Sue Mischke says she welcomed the chance to have a health coach when her doctor referred her to a research study. Sick of the side effects from her diabetes and hypertension drugs and scared by her conditions, the 68-year-old was motivated to give coaching a try.
That was 2½ years ago, when Ms. Mischke weighed 220 pounds and started talking to her coach on the phone once a week. The coaching sessions grew less frequent when she began dropping significant weight after a few months. Through a combination of increased exercise and dietary changes, she lost about 80 pounds and was able to ditch her troublesome medications.
“I don’t believe I would have lost [the weight] on my own, or at least I certainly wouldn’t have kept it off,” says Ms. Mischke, a geneticist for the Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md.
If your insurance plan gives you access to a health coach, here are a few tips to get the most of it:
A health coach should build trust with you right away by being organized and prepared when you have conversations. The coach should call you at the appointed time and remember your name and what you last spoke about, says Grace Derocha, a health coach with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan in Detroit.
A coach should help you cope with peer pressure and give you alternatives for scenarios such as eating out.
Expect a coach to ask detailed questions about your exercise and diet preferences and how much family support you have at home. Many coaches will include family members on the calls if it is appropriate.
Prepare to be held accountable to your goals. “If you’re not committed, then you’re probably not going to be successful,” Ms. Mischke says, “and you’ll rack up one more case of ‘I can’t do it.’ ”
Write to Kristen Gerencher at firstname.lastname@example.org