On this final day of National Cholesterol Month let’s talk about ways for patients to make lasting behavioral changes. Making lasting changes to behavior is seldom a quick and simple process. So how can you help your patients develop healthy behavior changes that will last?
Getting patients to make noticeable and lasting changes to their diet and exercise plans can be challenging. Old habits are hard to shake and can be discouraging for patients as you work with them to integrate lasting and meaningful changes to their behaviors.
Care teams can educate and support patients along the way, but in order for patients to succeed in making impactful changes to their condition, they need to take ownership of their health journey. Using VitalCare, care teams can share individual specific goals, education materials and insights directly with their patients.
Here are five strategies using VitalCare that you can utilize when working with patients to create lasting behavior changes:
1. Encourage Patients to Change Their Diets and Exercise Patterns by Using the Stages of Change Model
This model organizes a gradual progression of small steps toward a larger goal versus setting a single overreaching goal at the start, the stages of change model reframes the entire goal-setting process into a series of small, but critical, benchmarks. Over time, these smaller, seemingly more achievable goals deliver patients to their larger goal.
2. Turn Health Goals into SMART Goals
What’s a SMART goal? SMART goals are:
For every goal you set for a patient, help them understand each component of their SMART goal so they are encouraged and engaged from the start.
3. Keep Your Patients Motivated and Educated
Motivation is fluid; it changes over a year, month, week or even during the course of a single day. Utilizing VitalCare to send patient specific education materials, tasks, surveys and/or messages, you are encouraging patients and providing them with motivation via resources specific to their health goal. Having these materials catered to them and easily accessible will help them remain focused on their health journey, even when their motivation dips.
You should encourage patients to consistently review their collected health data in VitalCare. By regularly checking their progress, they are highly motivated that their SMART goals are attainable. In addition, family members utilizing VitalCare Family can offer words of support and encouragement helping patients stay on track.
We all know the benefits of being held accountable for our actions. VitalCare holds patients accountable to the basics- diet and activity tracking. Through the nutrition module patients can record their daily food intakes and care teams can work directly with patients to manage their diet and promote subtle changes in behavior.
Nutrition: Patients have the ability to log nutritional data through voice inputs or simple barcode scanning. Care teams can utilize this data in discussions with patients to assist them in staying on track with their health goals. Diet is one of the most important parts of maintaining good cholesterol levels so having the opportunity to document nutrition and track it in real time will hold the patient accountable and increase engagement, all leading to healthier patients and better outcomes.
Weight: Studies show that patients that use connected weight scales daily led to greater adoption of weight control behaviors and produced greater weight loss.1 Through VitalCare, patients can reduce their risk of developing high levels of cholesterol by monitoring their weight with the use of a BLE or LTE connected weight scale that allows them and their care teams to track weight gain or loss and trends over time.
Medication: If a patient has been prescribed a medication such as statins for high cholesterol, VitalCare’s medication module may be used to monitor compliance and effectiveness. If a family member or clinician notices a patient has not been regularly taking their medication, they are able to reach out via VitalCare to send gentle reminders to aid in adherence.
Activity: Exercise may also be recorded through VitalCare. After speaking with your patients to determine exercise and weight loss goals that are right for them to help make the right lifestyle changes, you and your care teams have the ability to monitor your patients’ activity levels. If goals are not met, care teams can utilize the data collected in VitalCare to encourage patients to increase their activity.
5. Learn From Missed Goals and Setbacks
Making lasting changes to behavior is hard. Add in a chronic condition or two, and it is not uncommon for missteps to occur. Patients can easily be discouraged but it is important that they understand this is a natural part of the process and they should not view it as a failure.
Use VitalCare’s HIPPA-compliant audio and video messaging system to discuss ways patients can overcome their current challenges in achieving their SMART goals. Review the data collected in VitalCare Admin to identify patterns that may lead to a patient’s goal not being completed. Patients are encouraged by their care team being more accessible and messaging via VitalCare creates that sense of accessibility.
When patients have an active role in identifying their trouble areas and creating a plan for future missed goals in the future, they are more likely to succeed and stay engaged throughout their health journey.
Utilizing some of these strategies can increase the likelihood of long-term success providers want all of their patients to achieve.
VitalCare can help you and your care team assist the 71 million US adults who have high cholesterol2. Adopting new and lasting behavioral changes, such as healthy eating and regular physical activity, can help your patients have meaningful impacts on their health and VitalCare can help keep them on track by empowering them to fulfill their SMART goals of high cholesterol treatment and more.
To learn more on how VitalCare assists patients in controlling their cholesterol and other chronic conditions, contact us!