New Health Coach Program Empowers Patients with Chronic Disease

  • May 20, 2016
  • Newsroom, Americares Free Clinics, Danbury

Our new health coach program, launched at our Danburyclinic in March, gives patients struggling with chronic disease the knowledge, skills and confidence to better manage their health. Thanks to support from theBoehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation, we now have health coaches during all weekday clinic sessions. The coaches work one-on-one with patients like Ana, a single mother struggling to lose weight and lower her blood pressure, to develop individual action plans.

“My work is not easy. Sometimes I come home and I am tired, and I don’t exercise at all,” said Ana, a housekeeper. “I lose some weight and it goes up again.”

For patients managing hypertension, diabetes and other chronic diseases, quality health care is not enough. They must make critical dietary and exercise changes and understand their doctor’s instructions. Research has shown 50 percent of patients leave medical visits without understanding their provider’s advice.

Health Coach Juanita Castillo reviews the sugar content of popular drinks with a patient.

“If they are more invested in the solution, they are more likely to see improvement,” said health coach Juanita Castillo.

Eighty patients are expected to participate in the program’s first year. Coaches are fluent in English and Spanish to meet the needs of a diverse patient population.

“We have a long-standing partnership with AmeriCares and are proud to build on the strength of our existing programs to help with one of the hardest aspects of healthy living–behavior change,” said Lilly Ackley, president, Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation. “Health adherence is central to a patient’s overall success, and by putting resources in place to improve it, we are working together towards a healthier community.”