Week 2 Assignment – Coaching through Communication

OD_20201012M_HSM115_5AssignmentsWeek 2 Assignment – Coaching through Communication
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Week 2 Assignment – Coaching through Communication
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Due Oct 25 by 11:59pm Points 90 Submitting a file upload Available Oct 12 at 12am – Nov 1 at 11:59pm 21 days

Learning Objectives Covered
LO 03.01 – Identify styles and types of verbal and nonverbal communication
LO 03.02 – Recognize barriers to communication and identify techniques for overcoming communication barriers
LO 03.03 – Define coaching a patient as it relates to: a. health maintenance; b. disease prevention; c. compliance with treatment plan; d. community resources; e. adaptations relevant to individual patient needs
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You may often need to coach patients to help them manage their health. To do this effectively, you’ll need to pay attention to aspects of verbal and nonverbal communication and the barriers that can arise during communication.


Irma loved working with patients of all ages, but the seniors were her favorites. As she’d learned in her college courses, the aging population needs coaching to effectively navigate their way through the complex healthcare system. She’d discovered that most of her senior patients appreciated her help, and many relied on her to interpret confusing instructions. Coaching patients like this gave Irma a sense of satisfaction. She was truly making a difference in people’s lives by assisting them with their health maintenance. Irma had become quite good at knowing what health coaching involves, how it relates to health maintenance, and how to overcome communication barriers so you can coach patients well.

Health Coaching

Health coaching is a method for empowering patients to become active participants in the healthcare system. Health coaching gives patients the tools, knowledge, and skills they need to advocate for themselves and to make good decisions related to healthcare and disease management. The focus of health coaching is on wellness, and you can help promote wellness by educating the patient on what they can do to maintain or improve their health status. This requires you to have a solid understanding of health and wellness and a knowledge of the community resources that are available.

If you work as a medical assistant, you’re not equipped nor licensed to perform health assessments; however, you can work closely with the physician to identify important lifestyle changes and work with a patient on a healthy diet and medication compliance. One of the key roles of the health coach is to support the patient in taking care of their own problems. This kind of empowerment involves giving the patient information about their disease and how it can be managed, teaching them problem-solving behaviors, and encouraging them to be an active participant in their treatment plan. As a health coach, you can also provide emotional support by listening to the patient and by speaking up when the patient feels they are not being heard. You can act as a liaison between the physician and patient, helping ensure that the patient understands the treatment plan, the risks, and the possible outcomes. The overall goal of your coaching is to assist with health maintenance.

Health Maintenance

Health maintenance is the term medical professionals use to describe staying healthy and avoiding disease. Disease management refers to managing illnesses and symptoms, with a focus on preventing the patient from getting worse. Of these two terms, health maintenance is preferred, since this is a holistic way to reduce the risk of illness. Health maintenance looks at mental, physical, social, and emotional health throughout the patient’s life. True health maintenance illuminates barriers to receiving care and minimizes the exposure to environmental toxins that can cause disease. It also includes a recreational component that encourages physical activity and promotes wellness.

Coaching a patient with a chronic disease requires knowledge of the community’s resources that can be used to promote health and wellness. This might be transportation services or include the Silver Sneakers programs available at a local gym at no cost to Medicare recipients.

Respecting the patient as an individual and helping them establish reasonable goals is the foundation of a good coaching relationship. A good health maintenance plan includes diet and exercise, smoking cessation, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, and seatbelt use, according to the patient’s individual needs. Communicating these things to your patient involves more than just telling the patient what they need to know. To be a successful health coach, you need to recognize and overcome common communication barriers.

Overcoming Communication Barriers

As you may recall, some common barriers to communication include contradictory verbal and nonverbal messages, the use of jargon, and a failure to actively listen.

When you interact with patients, pay careful attention to your facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, etc., so these nonverbal cues match what you say. Doing this can help you avoid accidentally confusing patients. When a patient’s words and nonverbal cues contradict each other, look for polite ways to check your perceptions to make sure you understand what the patient is trying to communicate. For example, imagine a healthcare worker asks a patient how their symptoms have been since their last visit. The patient raises their eyebrows, takes a deep breath, and lets it out slowly. “Just fine,” they say. To check your perception (that things may not be going as well as the patient says), you can ask a question such as, “Would you like to tell me more?” Or you can say something like, “I get the feeling you have more to say about this,” and then wait for the patient to respond. By paying attention to nonverbal cues and following up on what you think they might mean, you can avoid making wrong assumptions. When you check your perceptions like this, you’re also giving the patient a chance to communicate more fully with you, which is a win-win for both of you.

Whenever possible, avoid using medical jargon (specialized terms) with your patients. If you need to use a term the patient may not be familiar with, explain it in everyday words and/or give an example the patient can relate to. Remember, if the patient doesn’t understand what you’re saying, you’re not truly communicating.

Develop the habit of actively listening to each patient. As you may remember, this involves intentionally focusing on what the patient is saying. It also involves showing the patient you’re listening by eliminating distractions, maintaining eye contact, not interrupting, and using positive nonverbal cues—such as smiling, nodding, and maintaining open posture (not crossing your arms).

If a patient has chronic health problems and/or has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, you may find it challenging to communicate about these things with the patient. They may object to some of the questions you need to ask—or you may feel uncomfortable asking for certain details.

In addition to what Irma has already learned about how to communicate well, she watches this TED Talk video (Smith, 2018) for helpful pointers on how to talk about difficult things: How to Train Employees to Have Difficult Conversations (8:10 min)



Smith, T.M. (2018, April). How to train employees to have difficult conversations [Video]. TED2018. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.ted.com/talks/tamekia_mizladi_smith_how_to_train_employees_to_have_difficult_conversations
(Links to an external site.)

Sources of Information

Britt, R. R. (2019, June 25). The cryptic language of non-verbal communication. Elemental. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://elemental.medium.com/the-cryptic-language-of-non-verbal-communication-c3deee315326
(Links to an external site.)

Cheney, C. (2019, March 12). Adopt new approach to coaching patients with multiple morbidities. HealthLeaders. Retrieved on April 15, 2020. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/adopt-new-approach-coaching-patients-multiple-morbidities
(Links to an external site.)

Cheney, C. (2020, March 11). Focus on communication skills to improve your hospital’s patient experience. HealthLeaders. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/clinical-care/focus-communication-skills-improve-your-hospitals-patient-experience
(Links to an external site.)

Cherry, K. (2020, January 11). Types of nonverbal communication. Verywell Mind. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.verywellmind.com/types-of-nonverbal-communication-2795397
(Links to an external site.)

Coaching patients to better health. (2016, January 19). American Nurse. Retrieved on April 15, 2020. https://www.myamericannurse.com/coaching-patients-better-health/
(Links to an external site.)

Habas, K. (2019, May 29). What is linear communication? Bizfluent. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://bizfluent.com/12750351/what-is-linear-communication
(Links to an external site.)

Heathfield, S. (2019, August 6). Nonverbal communication in the workplace. The Balance Careers. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/nonverbal-communication-in-the-workplace-1918470
(Links to an external site.)

Lepsinger, R. (2018, May 14). 5 highly effective virtual communication skills. Business 2 Community. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.business2community.com/communications/5-highly-effective-virtual-communication-skills-02059575
(Links to an external site.)

Ratna, H. (2019, September 20). The importance of effective communication in healthcare practice. Harvard Public Health Review, 2019(23). Retrieved on April 9, 2020. http://harvardpublichealthreview.org/healthcommunication/
(Links to an external site.)

Stieg, C. (2020, March 18). How not to sound like a jerk (and communicate effectively) over Slack and email, according to a linguistics expert. CNBC Make It. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/how-to-use-instant-messaging-properly-while-telecommuting-for-covid-19.html
(Links to an external site.)

Turakhia, B. (2019, May 13). How technology has transformed workplace communication. Future US, Inc. Retrieved on April 9, 2020. https://www.techradar.com/news/how-technology-has-transformed-workplace-communication
(Links to an external site.)


In Microsoft PowerPoint, create a presentation that shows different ways to communicate effectively with Maria, the patient you’ll read about in the EHR Go activity. (You’ll see the activity link at the end of this prompt.)

Your presentation must include a minimum of 8 slides with 2 citations, references, and images. Each slide is required to have author’s notes that provide an explanation of the information presented in the PowerPoint. Be sure to include resources for Maria, along with treatment plan compliance. Also address why Maria may be using her insulin incorrectly. Before you begin, review the learning materials that go along with Maria’s chart. (You’ll see these under Topic Resources at the bottom of the page in EHR Go.)

Activity: Patient Education – Chronic Condition
(Links to an external site.)

Your file submission should be named Lastname_Firstname_Assignment_2

Click here for info on the Institution Writing Guidelines (IWG) if you have questions.

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