Module 1: Helping Clients with Lifestyle Change
Your role is to:
- Educate clients
- Encourage healthy lifestyles
Why do clients need education or lifestyle changes?
Unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, poor nutrition or lack of physical activity put us as risk for disease. Clients need to understand these risk factors so they can reduce the risk of or manage a chronic disease. They also need support and encouragement as they learn to make lifestyle changes.
What is your role in educating clients?
Part of your role in educating clients is to help them understand health information. This means talking to clients and finding resources that fit their needs. For example, if a client does not read English, you may need to find written information in their language or find a video they can watch on your computer. For children or special-needs clients, find information with pictures or bigger print.
Tips for client education:
- First, ask the client if they would like information
- Find out what the client already knows
- Tailor information to match client needs
- Do not overwhelm a client with too much information
What is your role in encouraging healthy lifestyles?
Your role in preventive healthcare may include helping clients make healthy lifestyle changes. For example, a doctor may ask a client to lose weight and lower cholesterol to avoid heart disease. People often understand that they need to make changes for their health, but it can be hard for clients to change eating habits, stop smoking or increase their physical activity for a payoff later.
Lifestyle Change Programs
There are many successful programs that help people make lifestyle changes. Programs that use tools such as goal-setting and social support have been recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Successful programs are usually based on health behavior theory. This means that researchers have found patterns of human behavior that are important to recognize when working with clients who have health-related issues.
In this part of the course we will provide references for you to learn more about lifestyle change programs. We will also overview one of these programs as a tool for patient navigators: motivational interviewing.
Motivational interviewing looks at the stages of change people go through and ways to help clients find the motivation they need in order to make healthy lifestyle changes. It is easy to use and has been shown to help with smoking cessation. It may help in other situations, depending on the client and the problem.
The way you help a client make a lifestyle change is to first find out how ready they are to make a change. Let’s look at the stage of change a client may be in. >>>