MY PLAN: Health Coaching Helps People with Dementia in Rural Areas

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Feng Chang, Assistant Professor

Project Title: MY PLAN – Integrative Health Coaching for Those Affected by Dementia

What is the issue?

Patients living with dementia and their caregivers need more access to programs that help them improve self-care skills for better health. The need is more significant in rural communities where access to specialists and community support services are limited.

What did we do?

We created a health coaching program called MY PLAN. We aimed to increase each person’s ability to improve their well-being and quality of life by enhancing their self-care skills, optimism, and resilience. A board-certified integrative health coach led six to eight sessions with each participant. The coach helped participants prioritize what matters most to them, build competence and confidence in their ability to manage the impacts of dementia, and make changes and achieve their goals at their own pace. We also hosted community events to increase awareness about what it’s like to have dementia. These events helped to promote our project.

What did we find?

Recruiting study participants was delayed. We have enrolled 30 participants and plan to capture the impact of health coaching once they complete their sessions. We created a network of physicians in multiple rural communities outside our original target area. We also developed a process for evaluating health coaching techniques in individuals impacted by dementia. Several physicians in rural communities in Ontario are referring patients to our health coaching program. Our health coach is also working on recruiting 10 additional patients from communities in the Ottawa area.