Health Coaching and Disease Management

Detail

Aside from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, millions of people suffer from autoimmune disorders that seriously impact their quality of life. In addition to physician care, individuals with autoimmune disease often benefit from making behavioral changes in nutrition, exercise, and stress management to manage inflammation or other triggers for their condition. Autoimmune Encephalitis survivors are no exception.


What is Health Coaching?

Health coaching bridges the gap between medical practitioners and their patients. A Health coach assists their clients in developing strategies to make lasting lifestyle adjustments that bolster overall wellness, disease management, and recovery from illnesses requiring behavior modifications.

The role of a Health Coach is not to diagnose, treat, or take responsibility for bringing about wellness changes in a client’s life. A Health Coach guides and supports the client in developing personal wellness goals and tactics for achieving those goals.


What Does a Health Coach Do?

  • Guides conversations with a client to explore areas of health the client has targeted for attention
  • Develops recommendations with the client for health-related behavior changes
  • Encourages clients to adopt healthy habits and supports them in their health decisions
  • Partners as needed with the client’s medical practitioners when implementing behavior changes that might impact disease management
  • Refers clients to an appropriate medical professional when issues arise requiring medical intervention or treatment

Areas of Focus in a Health Coaching Partnership:

Overall Lifestyle

  • Stress, sleeping, mood, self-care, food habits

Nutrition

  • Food choices, cooking, healthy nutrients, supplements

Exercise

  • Exercise activities such as dancing, yoga, walking, running, and cycling

Relationships

  • Spending time with family, friends, and co-workers

Career

  • Growing and developing your abilities, talents, and interests

Spirituality

  • Seeing purpose or meaning in something beyond yourself (religious practices or other areas such as art or nature)

Mind-Body Connection

  • Identifying the connection between the mind and body and the effects they have on each other.
  • Using techniques such as breathing and stress reduction practices to help the body relax and heal.

Physical Environment

  • Spaces where you live and work as well as landscapes surrounding those areas

Professional Care: Prevention and Intervention

  • Routine screenings such as mammograms, prostate screenings, colonoscopies, pap tests, and dental exams, along with prescribed use of vitamins and supplements.
  • Treatments recommended by your medical care providers in addition to complementary approaches such as acupuncture, massage, hypnosis, etc.

Assessing your Overall Health and Wellness:

Health Coaches often use a health and wellness questionnaire that helps their client assess their current state of health and identify areas that need improvement to meet their long-term vision of health. Attached is a useful tool developed by Duke Integrative Medicine for this purpose.


Find a Coach:

The field of Health Coaching is relatively new. Over the past five years many health coaching programs have surfaced with varying degrees of academic rigor and credentialing.  The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) is the standard setter for health coach credentialing.  In collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) the NBHWC has developed a rigorous board certification examination leading to the credentialing of 3,000 National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches.  A health coach holding the NBC-HWC credential has undergone robust training and education with a vetted and qualified training institution, demonstrated their skill by extensive coaching hours prior to sitting for the exam, passed the NBME board certification examination, and stays current on health coaching through required continuing professional education. You can find a certified NBHWC coach at:  https://nbhwc.org/find-a-certified-coach/#!directory/ord=rnd