Thursday, October 14, 2004

Coaching in Health Continues.....

Well this last blog certainly created a flurry of activity. The emails are coming fast and furious from people who would love to see coaching within healthcare happen. Some, Americans are skeptical but still urge me to persevere and Canadians who are cheering me on from the sidelines. (and Senator Kerry, if you’d like to see the American people healthier and more proactive in their ‘wellness’ this is the first step in making this happen).

Train the trainer or in this case, coach the coach. Front line health care providers coaching patients as they’re being treated….not only does this empower the patients to do their utmost in partnering in their health care but gives an added boost of energy and feeling of “I made a difference with this patient” to the one coaching. Now how much better does it get than that?

I realise many believe (especially in the US.) that as long as drug companies and physicians benefit from giving long term care and rely on making their big bucks only when patients remain needy and continue to return to their doctors again and again, this concept will never become a reality. Yet I do believe most physicians act from a basis of integrity and if their patients were more proactive in their own care, they would be more than happy. And with that, there is a possibility that the mind set and culture will change ….albeit slowly, however there is light at the end of the tunnel. For those of you who know me, I always look forward to the possibilities and in a case like this, where there are only benefits, I won't give up.

I encourage your comments and suggestions and ideas for how to speed this up and make it happen in your neck of the woods and mine. If we put our heads together it will happen sooner rather than later.

Let me leave you with a story….an simplistic example, but a powerful one...

About two years ago, someone close to me was diagnosed with cancer. It was treatable, but still the idea he had cancer was more than he wanted to handle. Success rate for his type of cancer was very high. He couldn’t even verbalise the “C” word. He was sure he was going to die. He was so miserable from his treatments that he wanted to die, and blatantly told me so.

I sent him a planner…an agenda with the instructions that he was to take responsibility for making his doctors appointments and to keep track of all treatment schedules. As well, when he was up to it, to plan his social calendar and record everything himself, not to rely on others to do that for him.

He agreed.

A week later, I called him and asked what was on the agenda for that coming weekend. He listed off a few things he had planned. My response to him was “So you are planning to live after all, hmm?” There was silence after which he laughed, called me a wise guy and waited for me to continue. I responded with “If you had no intention of living then you wouldn’t have planned ahead. There would have been nothing in your agenda. So tell me, what exactly IS your intention?” and we went from there.

It was an eye-opener for him. He didn’t realise he had sounded so depressed and had almost given up. It’s almost three years since we’ve had that conversation and I’ve sent him 2 refills for that planner. It’s still being filled. Now I realise it’s a simple example, but it was very powerful in effect. It was what he needed to get past what was stopping him from working towards health, not death.

A huge difference for his family and friends. A huge change of outlook in life.

Any suggestions? Comments? I’d love to hear them. Let's get past all the reasons why this isn't going to happen (human nature....people always share those first) and start working on solutions and plans of action.

Let’s get this going.

Donna Karlin

No comments: