How a Health Coach can improve your health
Dorothy Rafferty was not unlike other women her age struggling to manage high blood pressure. But when her blood sugar also became elevated, Mercy South physician assistant Tina Brightwell suggested she seek additional help. “She recommended I meet with a health coach to develop a plan,” said Rafferty.
Physician office-based health coaches help to manage the increasing number of patients with chronic conditions, oversee disease registries, educate patients about chronic conditions and improve clinic patient outcomes. Mercy Clinics, has health coaches located at each of its primary care clinic locations.
“Having health coaches has helped us avoid potential complications for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension,” said Dr. David Swieskowski, Chief Executive Officer, Mercy Clinics. “Patients have also told us that they like having direct feedback from their coach so they can stay on track.”
Rafferty lowered her blood pressure with a steady program of exercise. The exercise and diet modifications also helped her to lose weight and keep her blood sugar under control. Health coach Monica Vail, RN, helped her set goals—such as planning her diet and incorporating exercise into her daily routine and they continue to meet to discuss challenges and to help her remain focused.
“It’s effective because it’s tailored to individuals,” says Vail. “We recognize that individuals are their own best experts. Our job as health coaches is simply to empower people and provide them with accountability and support in the change process.”
"I just needed a little guidance and someone who would hold me accountable,” said Rafferty. “It is not always easy. You have to stay with it. It takes work, but don’t give up.”