Health and Wellbeing Coaches
Our Health and Wellbeing Coaches work one-to-one with adults registered at Southwark GP Practices who would like to better self-manage their long-term conditions.
- Coaches can offer you up to 6 Sessions.
- This service is free and Confidential.
A Health and Wellbeing Coach can support you with:
- Self-Care - Eating well, improving sleep, stop smoking preparation, alcohol reduction and some addictions (low-level needs)
- Getting Active - Increasing physical activity, weight management, motivation, action plans and accountability
- Emotional Wellbeing - Managing stress, supporting with depression and anxiety (low level), changing mindset and behaviours, confidence and empowerment
- Health Conditions and Lifestyle - Lifestyle management, goal setting, healthy living and wellbeing
The role of a Health and Wellbeing Coach as part of a GP practice multi-disciplinary team
Tasmyn Ali from Sands End Health Clinic (part of South Fulham Primary Care Network) shares how she is supporting people to manage mental and physical health issues by coming up with a solution together based what matters to the person and developing a personalised care support plan. Tasmyn will work with people looking at improving nutrition, physical activity, sleep and reducing stress with regular touch points to access how things are progressing and what might need adapting for the person. We also hear from colleagues working at the GP practice and the impact of having a health and wellbeing coach working as part of the general practice team.
What are Health and Wellbeing Coaches?
GP practices across south Southwark are offering a new NHS service – Health and Wellbeing coaches. Health and wellbeing coaches offer a proven approach to help support patients with improving a variety of health issues and overall wellbeing.
Most of us know we need to adopt more healthy behaviours but find it challenging to put things into practice and stick with this. We may face stress, fall into bad habits or face long-term conditions we might find difficult to manage. A Health and Wellbeing Coach takes the time to listen and work with you on the things that matter to you – not just medically, but in your life holistically. At each session, you will talk about how your health and wellbeing is presently, set goals for yourself and be guided towards activities, tools, people and resources that can support you to make changes.
You may be surprised that the following conditions can be helped by improved lifestyle measures and coaching: Psoriasis, Asthma, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety and depression, Obesity, Hypertension, Type 2 Diabetes, Osteoarthritis and some sleep conditions.
What are we doing in South Southwark?
We established a team of Health and Well-being coaches in July 2022. People registered with South Southwark GP practices can access this support through their GP practice. You will have an initial face to face assessment with the coach to understand your situation and agree what you wish to focus on. After that you will have up to five more sessions.
Sarah visited their GP practice pharmacist for a medication review of their long-term condition, diabetes. Sarah identified that they would like to lose weight but felt unsure as to how to go about it. The practice pharmacist was able to offer the patient a few options, including a local exercise scheme and Health and Wellbeing Coaching. The patient felt it was the motivation to attend exercise schemes as well as a wish to amend their diet that was holding them back. They had signed up for something similar in the past but felt self-conscious to actually attend. They agreed for a referral to the Health and Wellbeing Coach.The Wellbeing Coach contacted Sarah for an initial appointment.
This process identified that Sarah was motivated and ready to make a positive lifestyle change. Sarah committed to the six coaching sessions at their local GP Practice. Sarah expected to be handed a list of foods they should and should not eat, given a strict exercise regime and a goal weight. Instead, the coach asked – ‘what is important to you?’ Within the sessions they looked at a range of areas of their life including health, personal growth, career, family, finance and leisure. This helped Sarah be aware of the different areas that impacted their confidence with making healthier lifestyle habits. The weekly sessions over six weeks looked at Sarah’s emotional attachment to food: identifying patterns as to when they would eat particularly less healthy foods. Each session identified what we call ‘SMART goals’ – these are manageable and realistic goals identified by the person themselves. By making goals personalised and manageable – a person is more likely to achieve their goal.
For Sarah, this meant making some adaptations to current meals: so that they were still able to enjoy food and have a more sustainable approach to eating better. The sessions explored convenient times they could fit in small amounts of exercise into their day – for Sarah, this meant getting off the bus for work four stops sooner than usual, and walking.
What difference has this made?
Sarah fed back to their coach that whilst they had signed up to the sessions primarily for weight loss, the sessions had actually highlighted to them how much feeling more confident in themselves, had been the main outcome. The sessions have made them feel less ashamed. Before, they would place themselves on more extreme, restrictive diets that they would stop after a few days or weeks, now they feel more confident to keep going and come up with their own healthy living goals in future.
Sarah said they realised how whilst exercising in conventional places, such as gyms, is a great fit for some, but Sarah felt more motivated and comfortable in alternative spaces that don’t feel like ‘exercise’. Sarah reported ‘I’ve always liked being outside, breathing fresh air. Now I am spending more time moving more and it helps with my mood too’.
What happens next?
The coaching sessions may have now concluded, but they have given Sarah the tools she needs to identify and implement her own goals. Sarah has been given some resources with ideas for easy ways to incorporate a healthier lifestyle into her day. Many people find these helpful to revisit if they have a period where they feel less motivated.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is coaching?
Coaching is future-focused, and goal orientated and aims to support you to make significant, life-improving choices and decisions, whilst making you aware of limiting beliefs and challenging them so that you’re not unintentionally holding yourself back.
What happens after I finish the support?
Your coaching sessions are designed to put you in a more confident place to self-manage your lifestyle changes. We know that sometimes we need a further helping hand. We can signpost you to community services that can provide long-term support where appropriate. Further support will be discussed during your sessions.
How much does it cost?
This is an NHS service, so there is no cost.
How do I join the program?
You need to be referred by a member of staff at your GP practice (a Doctor, Nurse, Social Prescriber etc.).
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