Institute for Engaged Aging

Health Coach Program

Cheryl Dye. Principal Investigator. J. Williams, Co-Investigator. Expanded Health Coaches For Hypertension Control. USDA – National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 9-30-2012 to 9 2013. $199,971. Funded. In this project volunteer community members are trained to be Health Coaches to those aged 45 years and above who have hypertension in order to help them learn to self-manage their hypertension through lifestyle changes and better medication management.

Cheryl Dye, Co-Principal Investigator with W. Sherrill. “Developing Wellness through Focused Health Coaching”. Veterans Affairs, Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation. $121,974. Funded 7-1-2011 to 12-31-2011. In this project, VA staff including physicians and nurses were trained with health coaching skills in order to help their patients be better self-managers of chronic conditions.

Cheryl Dye. Principal Investigator. J. Williams, Co-Investigator. Health Coaches for Hypertension Control. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). $374,928. Funded. Award: DO4RH12726-01-00. 2009-2012. This project places trained volunteer community retirees called Health Coaches with small groups of people with hypertension to deliver small group classes and to facilitate support groups. Over 100 rural residents have participated the program which consists of eight core sessions and eight additional sessions in physical activity and nutrition. To date (1-2013), data analysis is complete on 56 participants. A higher proportion of participants are reporting forward movement into the action or maintenance (A-M) stage of change for several behaviors: 1.4% increase to A-M for not smoking, 9.6% increase to A-M for handling stress well, 11.3% increase to A-M for physical activity, 22.7% increase to A-M for practicing good eating habits, 24.9% increase to A-M for living an overall healthy lifestyle, and 25.3% increase to A-M for losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. We have observed positive changes in the proportion who report: aerobic exercise five or more days per week (13.4%), coping with stress well (17.3%), eating five or more servings of fruits/vegetables per day (18.2%), and eating low fat foods (25.0%). Additionally, we observed positive trends in the clinical data, including: average decreases in systolic BP (-2.28 mmHg), weight (-2.27 lb), BMI (-0.052 kg/m2), waist circumference (-.087 in.) and fasting triglycerides (-15.03 mg/dl) and glucose (-3.31 mg/dl).

Health Coach imageDye, Willoughby and some of the Health Coaches.

Cheryl Dye. Principal Investigator. Co-Investigators - D. Willoughby, J. Eggert, “Helping Rural Elders Transition from Home Health to Chronic Disease Self Management Through Paraprofessional Outreach”. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), DHHS. $373,572. 5-1-2006 to 4-30-2009 (No-cost extension 5-1-2009 to 4-30-2010). Funded. Award: D04RH06789-03-00. This project, developed in collaboration with SC DHEC and Oconee Medical Center (OMC) created and tested a new model for extending home health services to older adults through use of trained lay health advisors. Dye and Willoughby trained 46 community volunteers to be “Health Coaches” and paired them with over 70 high-risk, discharged home-health services patients over the age of 65 years. The Health Coaches helped patients transition from home health care to self-care by learning to manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease with techniques such as medication management, healthy eating and physical activity. The Health Coaches also helped their clients access community resources to reduce utility bills, find food assistance and locate volunteers for home repairs. Patients mentored by Health Coaches had fewer readmissions related to their chronic condition and fewer new admissions for falls, pneumonia and flu.