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Is health coaching the next panacea in healthcare reform?

02 August 2021
7 min read
Volume 32 · Issue 8

Abstract

Health coaching aims to empower patients to self-manage their long-term health conditions. Catherine Best explores the effect health coaching can have on patients and the shifts that are required to deliver it

Non-communicable diseases now account for the vast majority of deaths globally. It is recognised that personalised care is key to managing non-communicable disease and health coaching is considered an essential element. Health coaching is a developing field of practice that encourages patients to adopt healthy lifestyle behaviours that can avert the impact of chronic disease. This article explores the effect health coaching can have on patients and the shifts that are required to deliver it.

The nursing profession remains at the forefront of healthcare delivery as the world continues its attempt to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. A pandemic which to date has led to the death of almost 4 million people worldwide (World Health Organization (WHO), 2021) and continues to affect the most vulnerable in society, especially those with a disability (Dickinson et al, 2020).

This, however, is the tip of the iceberg when counting lives lost as a result of the many non-communicable diseases that have developed in recent decades. As little as a 100 years ago, the leading causes of death, especially for young people, occurred as a result of infections; typically, polio, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis, rubella, mumps and tuberculosis, but as a result of medical advances, immunisation and improved measures such as nutrition, hygiene and healthcare, these have virtually been eliminated in the UK (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2017). However, with such advances came a new problem: longevity. And an increasing susceptibility to poor health, especially for older people (WHO, n.d.). With Christensen et al (2009) emphasising the widespread concern that ‘exceptional longevity has grim results’ for both individuals and societies as a whole.

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