By: 11 Health

It is exciting to see the recently released data from Dr Fearn et al. regarding the quality of life benefits provided to ostomates by 11 Health’s Patient Coach Program. As a nurse and nurse practitioner working with this patient population for over twenty years, readmission due to ostomy issues is a recurring theme. Dehydration is always the number one issue bringing patients back to the hospital. Patients are given verbal and written instruction for their care, but sometimes it can be overwhelming and once home it often proves to be impossible to keep up. Patients contact their health care providers with questions, but on occasion we hear, “I just wasn’t sure I should call.”In an era of enhanced recovery and early discharge, patient support is vital. 11 Health’s Patient Coach Program is peer to patient support that is demonstrating significant benefits in this patient population.

The 11 Health Patient Coach Program is a health coaching program designed to reach out to patients through direct contact, using telephone, email, text messaging, and social media.​ They give support, listen, answer questions, and give new ostomates the tools to succeed to care for themselves after this life changing event.

As stated in the article, there is a great deal of evidence suggesting that peer support delivers significant benefits to patients. Taking this further, Dr Fearn examined the 11 Health Patient Coach Program to determine the impact on quality of life on this ostomate population. He invited those patients who participated and received services from the 11 Health program to participate in an electronic survey to examine the impact of this peer support program on their quality of life. Using domains from the City of Hope questionnaire, participants were asked to rate the impact of the coaching program on a 1-10 scale.

In reviewing the data received, some very encouraging results were revealed. 72% of the respondents rated their quality of life a 7 or higher with coaches having the highest average quality of life score (8.0) Seventy-nine percent of patients strongly agreed that access to the 11 Health peer support program positively impacted areas related to their physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. Data also revealed that patients who participated in the peer coaching program over a longer period had greater quality of life scores. This suggested that benefits increased over time.

The 11 Health Patient Coach Program clearly demonstrates improvement in quality of life among patients and coaches when participating in peer-support programs. As a healthcare professional in a busy hospital practice, I find these results exciting and encouraging. After surgery, our patients are educated on the pouching and care of their new ostomy and signs and symptoms of dehydration among other things.Pairing a new ostomate with a patient coach will augment this education and support through one on one communication. Patient coaches understand the psychosocial changes our patients are living; they have experienced it too. This relationship will empower patients to gain self-confidence with the realization that they are not the only one experiencing life with an ostomy. The Patient Coach peer support relationship is revolutionary and will have lasting beneficial effects.

Karen Brady CNP is an experienced nurse practitioner with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Karen has an extensive background of managing surgical patients, clinical research, nursing education, medical to surgical, patient education, and inpatient care. She has been a nurse advisor to 11 Health since 2017.

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