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Humans are wired to strive for positive change in their lives. The change itself doesn’t always come naturally, though. Healthy behavior change is hard work. It requires consistent effort and practical tools to be successful. It’s also necessary to have trained support and small milestones that can be celebrated throughout the process to keep people motivated. When people fall short of making lasting change, it’s often because they’re attempting to make very big changes all at once. However, if the focus is, instead, on taking small, positive steps over time, lasting behavior change is more likely to be achieved.
This is where trained Vera Whole Health coaches make a difference. Vera health coaches use proven methods to offer consistent support and guidance toward making these important, small changes. Think of these as small wins that build toward larger success.
In the advanced primary care model from Vera, health coaches embedded in care teams incorporate the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to help people navigate the path toward positive change. This model is a blueprint for effecting self-change in health behaviors and, in turn, translates into better population outcomes.
Let’s take a closer look at this method and how it helps people achieve positive outcomes.
TTM was developed by Dr. James Prochaska. It’s a model based on 25 years of research measuring behavior change. The behaviors studied included smoking cessation, exercise adoption, eating a low-fat diet, and mammography use.
TTM outlines five stages that a person must move through before effective, lasting change occurs. Health coaches with this training utilize these five stages to understand how and when behaviors can be changed. The stages also provide insight as to why people may struggle or give up altogether while pursuing their goal.
The five stages of change are both predictable and recognizable. They include:
Examples of positive change with TTM:
Health coaches see firsthand how using TTM changes peoples’ lives. Take Vera patient Elizabeth, a lifelong runner, for example. When a car accident forced her to stop her favorite fitness activity, she thought she’d never be able to run again.
Elizabeth had regularly used the onsite clinic for her annual evaluation screening, but she’d never met with a health coach. Then, at her most recent screening, she began to wonder what a health coach could offer. Was it possible that a health coach could help her run again? She decided to give it a try.
Elizabeth began meeting with a health coach, and together they set goals to help her run again. She also began seeing a physical therapist in conjunction with her coaching sessions. Within two months, Elizabeth ran for the first time in 10 years.
Says Elizabeth: “This experience has changed my life. I’m so glad I asked what a health coach could do for me. For many years, it’s like I’d won the lottery, but never cashed in my tickets. There were so many free resources I had, but never used. I recommend health coaching and all of Vera’s resources to anybody.”
Vera patients like Elizabeth find that once they begin achieving goals they never thought possible, other areas of challenge in their lives begin to open up as well. Through working with health coaches who take the time to listen without judgement and to understand where they are in the TTM, patients find it is not only possible, but highly probable that change will become a reality.
And, when these positive changes come to fruition for even a small group of people, it has a ripple effect across entire populations. This is of great benefit to employers: healthier employees not only cost less, but they help to create a vibrant and robust culture that attracts talent and boosts productivity.
Stay current on healthcare industry developments, Vera updates, in-depth resources, and interviews with Vera providers