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Health coach helps CCH employee get her health back on track

Health coach helps CCH employee get her health back on track

When Margaret Stanojev was rushed to the emergency department last October with what felt like a heart attack, she knew she needed to make a change in her life. Overweight with high blood pressure, diabetes and asthma, that emergency visit was quite a wake-up call for Margaret.

“I thought I was having a heart attack,” Margaret said. “The emergency room scare was a life changer. I have a 12-year-old son at home that I need to raise.”

Though Margaret had been meeting with one of Campbell County Health’s Wellness health coaches for about a year with the organizations wellness program and they were encouraging her and showing her small ways she could make changes in her life, it wasn’t until her emergency room visit that she felt really motivated to do anything.

“I knew I should be doing something about it because I have diabetes and asthma,” Margaret said. “I wasn’t 100 percent into it. But after my health scare I decided I had to change the way I was thinking.”

With the help of her health coach, Margaret made a check list of items that she needed to do to get her health back on track. She started with a consultation with her doctor to review her most recent blood results, followed by a sleep study that resulted in her use of a C-Pap machine. From there she continued to make small changes such as using the stairs instead of the elevator to taking her medication regularly. With each change she made, her health coach was there encouraging her improvement.

“I found ways to get my exercise in,” Margaret said. “It was a lot of prompting in everything. The health coaches make you stop and think. It’s kept me on track and informed me.”

Today, Margaret is down about 20 pounds and every time she has her blood checked her results improve. She has been able to slowly decrease the amount of medication she needs to maintain her diabetes and high blood pressure.

“I love seeing the blood results,” Margaret said. “I can see that it rewards my actions. With the things I’m doing now, my numbers get better and better. I feel good and want to continue to feel good.”

Campbell County Health Wellness makes it easy for individuals like Margaret to monitor their blood work through a daily screening program.

Health Coach Rachel Wilde said program makes it easy and affordable for people to have their blood checked on a regular basis. The program provides blood draws Monday through Friday from 6-11 a.m. at 1901 Energy Court, Suite 125, with no appointment required. The program also offers several expanded blood tests in addition to the traditional wellness panel, such as Diabetes Management Panel, Iron Management Panel, Thyroid Function Panel and Vitamin D, among others.

“It’s like an everyday health fair that everyone in our community can access,” Rachel said. “It’s a huge, tremendous service to our patients.”

Many times, health coaches like Rachel begin working with new patients after those individuals have had a health assessment completed that includes blood work. With that information in hand, the health coaches are able to assess the patient’s overall health and help to determine a path forward for maintaining or improving their health.

“There’s a lot of information that can be found in the blood work,” Rachel said. “People do benefit from seeing those numbers.”

During the initial meeting, the health coach will determine the patient’s health risk level. The health coach and the patient will then create a list of goals to help guide their process. Even though those goals may be established, Rachel said it doesn’t mean the person will achieve success.

“We all know what we should be working on, but doing it is another story,” Rachel said. “My job is to help them figure out what they’re doing to get there on their own terms. They have the opportunity to learn a lot from themselves.”

Because change can be difficult, Rachel encourages small steps that can ultimately lead to big improvements over time. Simple steps like drinking more water or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can add up to health improvement.

“Change is hard, especially when you feel like it’s a mountain to climb,” Rachel said. “We set small, achievable goals. We talk a lot about modifying nutrition.”

And having that health coach to meet with on a regular basis can make all the difference, Rachel said.

“The success people have with health coaching is much higher than without a health coach,” Rachel said. “A health coach can be the piece that was missing.”

For Margaret, the encouragement from her health coach has helped her build her confidence and accomplish her goals, even when she wasn’t ready to make the changes.

“They are there to support you whether the number on the scale moved or not,” Margaret said. “They’re a good motivator for me and reinforce what I’m doing.”

Have Questions?

Campbell County Health's Wellness Services works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals across the northeastern Wyoming region. To learn more about Wellness, please visit www.cchwyo.org/Wellness or call 307.688.8051.

Article written by Kim Phagan-Hansel, Wyoming freelance writer