The current medical model of healthcare is adept at treating acute illnesses and injuries, but leaves much to be desired for more complex and chronic diseases. Limitations, such as an average of less than 10 minutes face time during physician office visits and minimal reimbursement for services, have contributed to rising costs and poor outcomes in the modern world.
Diane was a healthy, active 36-year-old woman when, seemingly overnight, she began to suffer crippling pain and fatigue. Her symptoms were initially triggered by an acute infection, but then persisted for over two years. Despite access to high-quality medical care, she and her husband could not find answers within the conventional healthcare system.
The Cost of Conventional Healthcare
They exhausted their finances to pay for alternative practitioners not covered by their health insurance. She was no longer able to work full-time and became depressed and isolated from her support system. Flare-ups of physical symptoms were worsened by stress and caused frequent emergency room visits.
An expensive hospital admission nearly bankrupted her family, but eventually led to an autoimmune disease diagnosis. Situations like Diane’s illustrate the frustration and defeat felt when patients are treated as a set of symptoms rather than as a whole person.
How One Organization is Making a Difference
Data from studies such as the Compassionate Frome project, initiated by Dr. Helen Kingston in 2013, shows that community support for isolated people who have health problems can significantly decrease the number of emergency room visits. The overwhelming conclusion is that keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital is more profitable for all involved – resulting in better financial and health outcomes.
Based on findings like these, the Chronic Wellness Collective is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that responded to the call for more community support. Founded by a group of registered nurses, health coaches, and wellness professionals, they set out on a mission to create connection and improve quality of life for women with chronic illness around the world.
The Impact of Health Coaching on Chronic Illness
Their coaching programs and peer support groups are helping to bridge the gaps in healthcare. “Our focus is on empowering women to become active partners in their own care,” says the organization’s Executive Director, Katherine Housh, a registered nurse who has lived with chronic illness. “We believe that self-advocacy is an antidote to a system that was previously centered around the needs and preferences of the medical professional rather than the patient.”
The decision to use an online, virtual platform has allowed their services to be more accessible to patients such as Diane who may be homebound because of their symptoms. When she first participated in their programs in 2018, she finally found the hope she needed to heal.
After partnering with a Chronic Wellness Coach and a community of other women navigating chronic illness, Diane was able to restore her energy and return to the work she loved. Today she lives the full and satisfying life she feared was beyond her reach, and is joined by many others who now have access to life-changing resources and support through the mission of the Chronic Wellness Collective.
About the Chronic Wellness Collective
The Chronic Wellness Collective, founded in 2019, seeks to create connection and improve quality of life for women with chronic illness. They provide online coaching and peer support to bridge the gaps in healthcare.
Chronic Wellness Collective
1267 Willis St. STE 200
Redding, CA 96001
Contact: Katherine Housh, Executive Director