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Chronic Illness? You need a health coach!

The old adage goes like this: “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you’ve fed him for a lifetime.” Traditional medicine is designed to rescue, by providing us with life saving surgery in emergencies, or just the right antibiotic in a severe infection. This is an example of “giving the man a fish” Health Coaching provides us with the tools to be the healthiest we can be whatever our health opportunities may be - “teaching the man to fish”. I read this quote in FPM, the Family Medicine Journal, “Health coaching can be defined as helping patients gain the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to become active participants in their care so that they can reach their self-identified health goals.”

That is about the best definition I have ever read for health coaching.

What does this mean? Particularly in chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, even cancer, so much of our health is wrapped up in the way we live our lives, which traditional doctors cannot help you with other than to make recommendations which you may or may not choose to follow. It is estimated by FPM that only 50% of prescribed treatments are followed while only 10% of lifestyle recommendations are carried out by patients.

These statistics tell us that something is missing in the therapeutic relationship between patient and physician. This is due to many factors - the physician’s time demands, the patient’s unsophistication with medical terminology and jargon, a basic distrust of the medical establishment and the patient being overwhelmed by the sheer burden of his/her health challenges.

What can we do to fill this gap so patients have better health outcomes? The answer is the Health Coach. Rather than rescuing their clients from imminent health catastrophes, the health coach takes into account every aspect of the clients’ life in order to PREVENT or lessen the devastation of health setbacks. This requires a holistic approach and a true relationship between caregiver coach and wellness client.

The coach does not replace the physician, but definitely augments the care by adding trust, understanding and faith to the system. In some cases the coach may communicate directly with the treating physician or even accompany him/her to appointments. The goal is health which is the launching pad for disease prevention and improved quality of life.

Isn’t that everyone’s goal? Why not contact a health coach today and see if one of us can help you?

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