Navigating Healthcare: Navigating Health With a Wellness Team

by Cara Herring, LCSW

Who can say they have experienced life at this exact stage before? No one, right? Despite your years of experience in this game of life, this exact stage of life is brand new to you, as each new stage is for all of us. You may have questions, such as: 

  • “What can I expect as I age?”
  • “I can tell my balance isn’t as good as it was when I was younger. What can I do about it?”
  • “I find that I’m forgetting the names of the people at the club…am I getting Dementia?”
  • “My doctor says I need to lose weight, so how can I do that at this age?”
  • “Is something wrong with me because I feel sad that I can’t get out and do things like I used to?”
  • “Is there any help available to assist taking care of my spouse?” 

An Annual Wellness Visit is the most comprehensive starting point to begin developing answers to your individual questions. Performed by a health coach, this 45-60 minute appointment will cover: vitals, health screenings, emotional health, medication adherence, substance usage, cognitive screening, home safety, falls prevention, advanced directives, nutrition, exercise and more. Despite your level of health, you will walk out of the appointment having an individual, written worksheet to include goals to continue or improve your health, as well as vitals, health screenings and relevant resources. 

Health Coaches are relatively new members of medical teams and work in conjunction with your doctor and nurses. With the guidance of the health coach, you will be encouraged to problem solve and brainstorm healthy lifestyle choices. This is different for some people because they are used to being told what to eat and how much to exercise. While education will be provided, working with a health coach is very much an open-ended conversation.  Who has ever thought “Gosh, I really need to get out and walk more?” but then found a million other things that must be done before you go out for a walk? You realize days have gone by and that walk still hasn’t happened. Then the guilt rolls in. At your Annual Wellness Visit, you will explore how ready you are to make realistic goals and how to prioritize to make them obtainable with your schedule. Examples of goals may be Examples of goals may be walking for 10 minutes three times a week, increasing water intake by two glasses per day or limiting dessert to one time per day. Health coaches understand that lives are busy, and we don’t want to deprive ourselves of all the treats in life. This isn’t an all-or-nothing set up; it’s committing to realistic, obtainable choices. Just like with any success in life, you have to start somewhere, so start with an Annual Wellness Visit and explore what your wellness team has to offer for your health. 

Cara Herring, LCSW
Health Coach
Pinehurst Medical Clinic, Inc.