Lifestyle Change Coaching for SagePlus Clients
The mission of SagePlus is to provide women with knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve their diet, physical activity, and other life habits to prevent, delay, or control cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. To achieve its mission, SagePlus screens women for cardiovascular disease, provides education on healthy lifestyles, and offers counseling and support to engage women in self-directed changes in diet, physical activity level, and smoking status. Core elements of the lifestyle intervention are as follows:
- Individual Risk Reporting: Each patient receives a personalized heart health profile and report, which includes her blood pressure, total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL or good cholesterol), smoking status, weight, and glucose (diabetes).
- Lifestyle Assessment: The patient’s dietary habits, physical activity behaviors, and smoking habits are assessed. This information creates a profile of the patient’s health-related behaviors, both healthy and unhealthy. This helps the patient and the counselor identify areas on which to focus when considering making lifestyle changes.
- Education: Brochures, “fact sheets,” newsletters, and other materials are provided to educate patients about their heart, heart disease risk factors, and health behaviors that affect risk factors; offer strategies for achieving lifestyle change goals; and suggest ways to overcome barriers to behavior change.
- Lifestyle Change Counseling: A lifestyle counselor engages the patient in a discussion about her screening results and its impact on her life. The purpose of this discussion is to access and enhance patient’s internal motivation to change. During this discussion, the counselor continuously assesses and responds to the patient’s level of motivation or resistance to change. Together, the counselor and the patient arrive at an understanding of whether the patient is ready to make lifestyle changes.
- Action Planning: The lifestyle counselor guide patients who are ready to change in setting goals and developing action plans. While goals look at the big-picture, action plans consist of small, concrete steps that the patient will take to reach her goal. This is formalized in a “Lifestyle Change Contract” signed by the patient. Focusing on specific small steps provides direction and helps assure that the patient will be successful. Successes are used to build confidence and encourage the patient to make additional changes.
- Self-Monitoring: Patients who sign lifestyle change contracts are encouraged to monitor their progress between intervention contacts. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) helps monitor progress for patients who choose to participate in two optional activities, Steps and Fruits and Vegetables. These activities support patients who want to work to increase their physical activity level or increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. Patients who choose to participate in these activities use postcards to track and report their activities to MDH.
- Follow-up: Lifestyle counselors follow-up with patients who have signed lifestyle change contracts in order to monitor progress toward goals, provide positive reinforcement, engage in problem solving, and modify goals or set new goals.
Screening and the initial lifestyle counseling are performed at medical clinics. They may occur on the same day or on separate days. Follow-up is performed by lifestyle counselors who may be located at the medical clinic or in a central location.
If you're eligible or know someone who is eligible, call 1-888-643-2584 for an appointment at a SagePlus clinic.