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Dietitian Coaches Patients on Wellness

Posted on Monday, July 23, 2012

GaumerContact: Michele Hutchins
(603) 238-6468

SMH Dietitian Coaches Patients on Wellness for Life

PLYMOUTH, N.H. —You can call her coach. Janette Gaumer, registered dietitian at Speare Memorial Hospital, has become a Certified Health Coach, promoting patient wellness by helping them establish and achieve individual, long-term health goals.

“The job of the health coach is reflective of the changing trends in healthcare,” says Gaumer. “The patient is responsible for managing their health. They decide what lifestyle changes they want to make for better overall health, and together we develop a ‘playbook’ to help them reach their goals. But, and this is key, patients must be ready to commit to change.”

Gaumer explains success comes as a result of a multistep process that takes time to accomplish. As the coach, her first step is to assess where a patient is today in terms of diet, stress, sleep, and exercise. It is about knowing where you are today, in order to get where you are going tomorrow. Then she asks her patients to identify two changes that they can make immediately to their daily lives, which will set them on the path towards their goal.

“For example,” Gaumer says, “a patient tells me they get very little exercise and eat a bowl of ice cream each night before bed. An immediate change might be to take a ten minute walk during lunch, and instead of a bowl of ice cream at night, just have half a cup. It is a series of small steps, that build on one another, and lead to success.”

Gaumer also adds that many times, a patient’s specific long-term goal might be different than their doctors. “Say your doctor wants you to lower your cholesterol. While your focus is on weight loss, doing so positively impacts your cholesterol level and can lead to taking a decreased amount of cholesterol medication or the elimination of it altogether. Weight loss also comes from eating better and getting more exercise, which helps you sleep better and feel less stressed. As a coach, it is my job to help my patients see the whole picture and how it all fits together to improve their wellbeing.”

The National Society of Health Coaches (NSHC) was developed with the purpose of establishing an evidence-based program for healthcare providers. Founded in 2007, the NSHC uses motivational interviewing techniques to help patients maintain optimal health and reduce acute pain associated with chronic illnesses.

To become certified, Gaumer had to take a two part exam, administered by the NSHC, and had to be certified/licensed in an accredited program as a healthcare professional. Gaumer has been a registered dietitian at Speare for the past two years, and the transition to health coach was the next logical step in her career.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Janette Gaumer, contact her at (603) 238-2244. Speare Memorial Hospital is a 24-hour, acute care, non-profit community hospital and health care provider serving the greater Plymouth area in central New Hampshire, and nationally ranked as a HealthStrongTM: Top 100 Critical Access Hospital. Visit online at www.spearehospital.com and join us on Facebook.