HealthCoach Huddle
Featured Articles                                                                                     May 2009, Vol. II, No. 1
Asthma Coach Can Reduce Hospitalizations in Some Children

Working with an asthma coach helps to significantly reduce hospitalizations of low-income, black children with asthma, according to the results of a new, two-year study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Nearly 200 children on Medicaid between 2 and 8 years old who had been hospitalized for asthma were randomly assigned to an asthma coach or to usual care following discharge from the hospital, which included asthma education, an asthma management plan and a suggested follow-up appointment with the child's pediatrician within one week of discharge. During the two years the coach was available to parents, 36.5 percent of patients in the coaching group were hospitalized at least once, compared with 59 percent of patients in the usual-care group. Each coach completed a training program that covered the asthma disease process, ways to manage asthma and reduce triggers, communication techniques, social support and strategies to change behavior.

Read full article here

Quotable: Balancing the Good with the Bad

"When working with others, balance the positive and negative. If you’re providing negative feedback, make sure there’s at least three times as much good news. During coaching sessions, don’t start out talking about problems. Rather, talk about what’s working and what has been accomplished. In the medical arena, we generally focus on the bad stuff. We tell people what’s not working, what their health risks are and that they’ve got poor biometrics. This creates a challenge because we are not fostering positive emotions. If those emotions are not there, it’s very hard for clients to walk away and say to themselves — 'I can do this. I’m ready to go.' We must pay much more attention to fostering positive emotions. Clients should end the coaching session feeling more positive. That’s a critical outcome.”
                                        — Margaret Moore, CEO, Wellcoaches Corporation

Get more information on the impact of positive psychology.

Nebraska's WellnessOptions Rewards Healthy Lifestyles in Employees

HealthFitness will partner with the state of Nebraska to develop and administer a comprehensive health management program for more than 17,000 state employees, making Nebraska one of the first states to offer workers a comprehensive plan for health insurance designed to encourage healthy lifestyles. Set to launch July 1, the WellnessOptions program will offer lower premiums and better coverage for certain screenings to eligible employees who complete a confidential health assessment. In subsequent years, state employees and their covered spouses who enroll in the WellnessOptions plan will receive lower insurance premiums when they complete the health assessment as well as participate in basic biometric screenings and coaching/education programs. HealthFitness will provide health assessments, screenings, an eHealth portal, health coaching and programs for condition management.

Read full article here.

Integrative Health Coaching Takes a "Whole Person" Approach
The definition of community in an individual's change process is unique to that individual, explains Dr. Karen Lawson, program director for the health coaching track at the Center for Spirituality and Healing, the University of Minnesota. In this interview, Dr. Lawson discusses healing and spirituality within the framework of a health coaching exchange and the appropriate moments for a coach to broach these subjects. While a health coach cannot be an expert in all available therapies, the coach can be a "curious explorer" who "dips their toes" into alternative health therapies and systems along with the client.

Listen to podcast here.

Acceptance of Health Coaching by the Medical and Business Communities

Question: How are health coaches received by the medical establishment and who will most likely employ their services?

Response: (Linda Smith) In the corporate world, we’re seeing healthcare and insurance costs becoming prohibitive to the point that companies are stopping healthcare offerings to employees. The corporate world and the medical community are also interested in health coaching. In the medical community, not only does integrative medicine use coaches, but our diet and fitness center uses coaches, as well as our executive health program. We’re seeing an explosion..

(Linda Smith is the director of programs at Duke Integrative Medicine.)

Get more information on health coaching for behavior change.

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Taking the Pulse of Population Health Programs

Abandoning behaviors that are detrimental to one’s health is no simple feat. That's why numerous healthcare organizations are launching lifestyle management programs for individuals with life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This executive summary provides the general character of more than 60 such initiatives, including the differing approaches and techniques in identification, treatment and outcome assessment.

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