When we want a team to win at a game, the team gets the best coach possible. An athlete training for the Olympics or World championship does the same thing. We don’t just give the team or athlete the rules of the game and send them on their way expecting them to succeed.
Yet in life, everyone just kind of fumbles their way through. I am surprised that Life Coaches are not used more in health, business, education, therapy, sports and every other sector. I think if more people, governments, schools, businesses and agencies took a more holistic approach rather than just focusing on one area we would be happier, healthier, more productive, well adjusted humans.
Our health system would be relieved of millions of dollars of treatment costs for stress related illnesses or conditions from poor nutrition and lifestyle habits. Self-esteem, depression, stress, and panic related disorders would no longer account for so much in patient care.
A recent study conducted in six of Toronto’s hospitals (Gruneir, published in Open Medicine Vol 5 no.2 2011) showed that approximately 12% of low risk patients and 20% of high risk patients were readmitted to hospital within 90 days of discharge (patients were adult medical patients between ages 18-105). The problems were often found to be not enough support after discharge. A life coach as part of the medical discharge team would help families and patients stay motivated to meet expectations, keep dietary restrictions, live healthier, and remind them to attend therapy or medical appointments. They would help patients succeed at goals set during their discharge plan and help the patient and family adjust to recovery and life at home.
When illness or crisis did strike families and patients would feel more supported in every area of their lives. Often they come home from the hospital with someone helping them with the health issues but not giving the support and encouragement needed on a daily basis. A person who has eaten fried foods and smoked for 40 years is going to have a tough time of going home with the orders to “eat healthy, quit smoking and come back for a check up in a month”. Even if the new diet and regime is printed out in the standard educational material- this is a new way of life, a new life to adapt to, to deal with all the adjustments and struggles and emotions and stress. A weekly visit from an over worked nurse or a monthly visit to the doctor for a prescription refill is not enough support to ensure success at home.
I wish we could send a cheerleader home with every patient…I’m sure male patients would particularly like that haha but I don’t mean a cheerleader dressed in short skirts and high school sweaters…I mean someone to help the family and patient succeed and feel supported. Someone who helps with the day to day questions, who offers encouragement and support to get through the days in between health appointments. Not an overworked case worker who has a hundred patients to see today. A life coach who is there for the patients life. I think it would be interesting to see on a unit where readmission or decline after discharge is high how much of a difference a life coach after discharge makes to the happiness and success of the patient and family at home.
I know it sounds expensive but if the number of patients returning to hospital with negative outcomes was to decrease and patients were able to go home from hospital sooner, stay out of hospital more and the entire family be healthier then it actually proves cost effective.
We do better when we have a coach and a cheerleader. But families can’t always be cheerleaders and coaches and do it all for their sick loved one. By providing life coaches to a patient, the family has support and would be healthier and happier because they are not carrying the load alone much of the time. Everything from eating disorders to circulatory problems to strokes, diabetes, heart problems and even cancer have been related to stress as a factor. If we relieve that stress by helping people in every area of life then we will relieve that factor in those illnesses. We just need to support, cheer and coach success in life. If the person were going to the Super Bowl or was hoping for a gold in the Olympics we would find them the coach and support they needed, we would be cheering on the sidelines…So when a person is wanting to have their best health and life- Why not find them the right coach or cheerleader and see what incredible things can be accomplished.