Health coaching refers to developing a collaborative relationship with individuals as they actively take charge of their health and make changes in their lifestyle, working with the patient rather than doing the care for them. Health teaching refers to teaching them specific things relating to their diseases for example with a diabetic patient you are providing health teaching on diabetes, diet, eating, and physical activity and how it will control their disease.
In my practice as an RPN within acute care and community care setting, there are several health issues that require health coaching. Chronic diseases such as diabetes are one health issue in which health- care providers coach patients and their family members on how to self-manage and what lifestyle changes need to be considered in order to manage this disease.
The benefits of applying health coaching for patients allow them to develop the competency and confidence to self-manage their disease at home. Thus, having a sort of domino effect on the health care system as patients who manage their diseases well will likely have fewer visits to the hospital/ emergency department. In return, this will result in reduced stress and workload on myself and other nurses as patients are being active in their care and we are within with them in providing care as opposed to doing all the care for them.
One challenge I foresee with applying health coaching is patients not willing to be actively involved in their care, and are non-compliant with lifestyle changes they may need to make in order to properly manage their disease. Another is a health care professional not wanting to be a certified health coach. A strategy to overcome it is developing interactive sessions that will aid in the development of health professionals coaching knowledge and skills.
It sounds like you are developing a great understanding of the differences between health coaching and health teaching, which is fantastic!
I like your example of diabetes being an excellent opportunity for health coaching. I agree, it most certainly is an example where patients could greatly benefit from coaching in order to learn how to manage their care with as much independence as possible.
The benefits are definitely evident, but you’re right. It can be a challenge to motivate some patients to become more involved in their care.