Gerontology & geriatrics education, 38(3):257-270. Paper Website abstract bibtex
Effective strategies are needed to address the health behaviors of older patients with diabetes. One approach is health coaching, the practice of health education and health promotion through a structured partnership designed to enhance well-being and facilitate the achievement of individuals' health-related goals. The aim of this study was to describe the development of a pilot health coaching curriculum, investigate its effects on geriatric patient outcomes, and examine qualitative feedback by older patients and medical students to the curriculum. This mixed-methods study involved 29 first-year medical students randomly paired with 29 older adults with uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL), stage of change movement, diabetes knowledge, locus of control, Body Mass Index (BMI), and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) were assessed. Focus groups were used to evaluate patients' and medical students' experiences. Results showed significant increases in patients' HRQoL and stage of change for exercise improved significantly over time. There were no significant changes in stage of change for healthy diet and medication, diabetes knowledge, BMI, and HbA1c from baseline to end of study. Focus group data indicated positive responses by older patients and the medical students. A health coaching curriculum may improve patient outcomes and can provide medical students the skills needed to provide compassionate care for geriatric patients.