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Why Healthcare Coaching?

A friend asked me that question after learning I’m offering myself to help families and caregivers through coaching. Well, the short answer is because it takes more than compassion to be good caregivers…they need knowledge, understanding and guidance too.

Let me start by saying that aging is a fact of life, and it affects all families. When we become adult children or we begin to see our parents aging with each birthday, we may not fully comprehend the extent to which their aging will affect them or how it will affect us until it does. A major injury, illness, or hospitalization can cause the aging process to greatly accelerate or turn anyone’s life upside down. For instance, a parent might develop a stroke after years of having hypertension or develop vision problems with diabetes, and life as you know it drastically changes. Consequently, creating a greater need for family caregivers and home care because of inability managing some bodily functions or their incapability to do many daily activities.

Bear in mind also that recovery from injury and illness is not when someone walks out of the hospital doors. A medical event that required hospitalization can take weeks, and even months, for full recovery.

With many persons, the month or months after a hospital discharge is usually considered high-risk and seniors who are coming home from the hospital could very well require care and support, including non-medical in-home care. Most family members give care with love and compassion, but no skills. That lack of training makes them less prepared for identifying or handling accidents and emergencies which may occur from time to time in the lives of the family members.

Healthcare coaching can fill a critical gap in our healthcare system using a client-centered approach to work with people. I do believe that by coaching, I can partner with other care providers to support people battling chronic diseases. One of the best ways to prevent or reduce hospital readmission and improve recovery is to ensure they get the help they need at the home. Whether that means getting home support from a neighbor or friend, a family caregiver or a professional caregiver, coaching helps them better understand how to -

1) provide self-management support,

2) bridge the gap between doctor and patient, following up with patients for instance, making sure patient obtain, understand and take the medications as prescribed.

3) help patients navigate a variety of health concerns and the health care system,

4) offer emotional support and help patients handle their illnesses and emergencies at home

5) serve as a familiar figure to connect with and continuity of care between doctor’s visits

With coaching the caregiver is better able to make informed decisions to meet the challenges and responsibilities of caring for an ill, recovering, older or disabled person at home. As a Healthcare Coach my role is not to perform clinical work or diagnose, prescribe or treat any specific condition. I support individuals, families and caregivers as they seek to implement lifestyle changes and treatment as recommended by their doctor, nurses, nutritionist, or dietitian. And that my friends, is why I offer coaching services to families and family caregivers.

“While physicians are well-trained to “give patients a fish” – curing an acute problem or prescribing medications for a chronic condition – health coaching teaches patients and families “how to fish.” Family Practice Management. 2010 Sep-Oct;17(5):24-29.
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