The following is a recommended intervention identified by the TP-CKD programme for implementation with both staff and patients, to test the following question:
Can the use of intervention tools help to improve the knowledge, skills and confidence of patients with kidney disease to enable fuller participation in the management of their own health?
To explore other interventions identified by the programme, visit our Interventions Toolkit Home Page
Health coaching helps people set goals and take action to improve their health or lifestyle. Health coaches support people to find the answers themselves and plan to achieve their goals, rather than teaching, advising or counselling them.
Coaching usually takes place face to face, but can be by telephone, email or online. It may be a one-off occurrence or it can be done regularly, say weekly or monthly for several months.
What are the benefits?
Health coaching can help to improve a person’s motivation to self-manage and to change their behaviour. Coaching can lead to improvements in health and clinical outcomes, improved health-related behaviours such as physical activity, eating healthily and smoking cessation, and has the potential to enhance the quality of life of people living with long-term conditions.
How can it be used?
Health coaching can be used to support people with a range of long-term conditions and other health or lifestyle needs. It works best with people who are already motivated to change their behaviour or those who have the most to gain such as those with severe symptoms or poorly controlled conditions. It can be used effectively regardless of a person’s age, sex or ethnicity.
Coaches can support patients to define goals, and help to develop a plan to achieve them. The plan can then be broken down into bite size steps that are more easily achieved. Achievement of one goal helps build confidence and increases the ability to self-manage and achieve greater goals. Support by coaches can also help develop coping strategies to help prevent situations developing that might undermine desired change.
Health coaches are often health care professionals, but they don’t need to be. In recent years, there have been initiatives to train lay people to work with others with the same or similar medical conditions. Training is essential. The content and duration of training will vary depending on the type of coaching to be undertaken – whether coaches will be incorporating skills into existing consultations or undertaking separate 1:1 coaching sessions. Poorly trained “coaches” represent a risk to vulnerable patients. To gain most benefit, health coaching should be embedded as part of routine care delivery.
Useful Links and Resources
Does health coaching work? Summary of key themes from a rapid review of empirical evidence. The Evidence Centre, April 2014.