The health coaching approach in Somerset was initiated by Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and South Somerset Primary Care as part of the Symphony Programme (Vanguard site). Training was commissioned to develop a cohort of accredited health coaches who provide specific health coaching services, as well as using the health coaching approach to develop the consultation skills of nurses and volunteers to utilise a coaching mind-set as part of their role.
In Somerset health coaching is offered in one to one and group settings, to people with or at risk of long term health conditions. It is possible to self-refer for coaching including through wellbeing groups such as a drop-in café or health walks, but most people are referred via their GP surgery, or an acute healthcare setting. The coaching is part of the individual’s health package and the aim is that patients begin to take greater ownership of their own health
In 2016 sixty people were trained in the health coaching approach with four primary and acute care staff participating in a Train the Trainer programme. Subsequently three hundred and sixty more people have been trained in how to use a health coaching, including more than two hundred and fifty by internal trainers.
The experiential and practical aspects of the training process have been most appreciated by practitioners, with many reporting that the approach has transformed their practice. Health coaching has helped to improve patient activation levels and has been found to be a contributing factor towards reducing the number of emergency bed days.