Wellness Coaches At Work

The profession of Wellness & Health Coaching has grown tremendously over the past 10 years. With the birth of the National Standards for the profession has come insurance reimbursements and much research that has demonstrated that the high touch skillset can keep costs down while empowering medical compliance. We now see many health professionals adding health coaching to their existing skillsets as well as others becoming professional wellness coaches. Though many health and wellness coaches work on their own or contract with companies to provide services we also see many areas where wellness and health coaches are being hired.

Health Coaches in Primary Care

Health coaching can transform the patient experience—and the clinical outcomes--in a primary care practice. A well-developed collaboration between a skilled physician and a well-trained coach can support lasting behavior change and have profound positive impact on patients’ health and wellbeing.

It all starts with a practitioner’s care plan, which guides the formulation of the patient’s wellness goals. Together, patient and coach create a plan to work toward these goals, addressing any challenges or roadblocks that arise and that impede incorporation of the practitioner’s recommendations. Simply put, health coaches facilitate change. Working with individual patients or groups, they use motivational strategies, behavior change theory, and communication techniques to help patients create sustainable behavior changes that lead to better health. They bridge the gap between what patients know they need to do to be healthy, and the intrinsic motivation that patients need to actually make and sustain those changes.

In a good collaborative practice, the coach will feed back to the physician as the patient makes diet and lifestyle changes, simultaneously incorporating input and further guidance from the physician.

Generally speaking, health coaches working within their defined scope of practice do not get involved in making medical diagnoses or prescribing medical treatments. But depending on their training, they can often provide considerable insight and intelligence on how to adapt and implement dietary and exercise plans for people struggling with specific disorders.

Health Coaches in the Clinical Setting

Health coaching is a patient-centered approach to delivering care. Research has shown that half of patients leave medical visits without understanding the clinicians’ advice. In only 10% of visits are the patients involved in making the decisions. Patients who are not involved in decision-making do not follow the clinician’s advice. This can lead to poor health outcomes for the patient and frustration for the clinician.

Health Coaching helps patients build the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to manage their chronic conditions and improve their health. Health coaches empower patients to play a central role in clinical encounters and to engage in self-management activities at home, work, and schools, where they spend most of their lives. At the hospital or clinic level we see health coaches work with a physician and and patient, ensuring that the patient understands the health problem, the medical directives, as well as have the support and accountability they need once home.

Worksite Wellness - Employee Wellness - Employee Assistance Programs

As an employer, you have goals for your company's growth and success and a vision of how you want to get there. Sure, we all want to be super successful, earn a healthy income and drive sales through the end of the quarter, but how do you plan on doing that if your employees aren't their best selves? You may want to consider that if employees are well-taken care, they are more productive, less stressed, and happier workers. Investing in your employees' well-being will not only result in a high retention rate for your company, but it will also provide a big VOI (Value on Investment).

The Cost Of Not Taking Care Of Your Employees - Chronic diseases and related lifestyle risk factors are the leading drivers of healthcare costs for employers and employees. According to the CDC, productivity losses linked to employees who miss work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, annually. Furthermore, those who work full-time and are overweight, obese, and have other accompanying chronic health problems miss about 450 million more days of work each year compared to workers that are healthy. This costs employers an estimated $153 billion in lost productivity each year.  If that's not enough, 60% to 80% of workplace accidents and more than 80% of doctors' visits are attributed to stress.

Where the Health Coach Comes In - Wellness is unique and individual; there isn't a one size fits all solution to well-being. Simply providing employees with health risk assessments will not give them the tools they need to make significant behavioral changes. Employees need someone to explain and assist them with understanding health information and give them tools to make healthier and lasting changes to their lifestyles. Health coaches engage employees and meet them where they are so they are more successful at making healthy behavior changes.

Insurance & Disease Management

Within the Insurance industry many companies have health coaching as an added benenfit and often employees doing Disease Management are often cross trained as Health Coaches. We have also seen a number of companies develop that are focused on keeping people healthy. They will often do screenings, health education, yoga and mindfulness training as well as group wellness coaching. The State of Wyoming funds such a program and it is quite successful.

University Based Health Coaching

It has been exciting at the University level these past few years as educational institutions implement wellness coaching programs and find success in student retention. Many are both adding Health Coaching content to their Public Health or medical curriculum and doing the Practicuum or Experiential Learning with students who need a little extra support. It's a model that works!

Medical Fitness

The Medical Fitness industry is dedicated to the success and delivery of medically supervised, integrated, outcomes and accountability-based fitness and exercise platforms.  This is at times in fitness centers and other times it is in combination with Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Message, and other modalities including health coaching.

Community Wellness

YMCA's and YWCA's around the country are beginning to focus on cultivating healthy familes through healthy behaviors and they are using wellness coaches. Many communities across our nation are also adopting a "Healthy Communities" approach to both community programming and community planning. With the support of The Blue Zones and WELCOA a community can energize it's citizens on their own behalf and many are using wellness coaches.

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