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Patients want to live healthy lifestyles, and your GP can help

In a large survey sent randomly to Kardinia Health patients, we asked “Would you like your healthcare workers to do more to encourage you to be healthy?” Looking at the graph below, there is clearly a spread in attitudes, however this question also included an optional open text “tell us more” format which was just as well as we found many respondents who gave a low score did so because they were already receiving fantastic support!

From these open ended or qualitative responses, we identified 3 main themes:

83% of respondents had positive attitudes towards health care encouragement such as; I have the best GP but also wanted more time so that the health benefits could be better explained.

7% of respondents had negative attitudes towards health care encouragement indicating it’s a patient’s personal responsibility and didn’t welcome the added pressure to change.

48% of respondents wanted more information that was easy for them to understand, explained health causes, benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, and simple diet/exercise/meal plans.

A few patient comments:

“My doctor has made an enormous contribution to my present good health by making it clear where my unhealthy habits were leading me”

“I am extremely lucky to have the best GP I have ever had in my whole life. Not only does she respect my opinion but monitors me very closely with ample advice on how to keep myself healthy”

“My health workers do a great job but then it’s up to me to be able to implement it at home and I mostly fail due to depression and not enough money and being lonely”

“Just as I type this my lovely young doctor has just phoned with test results I had yesterday, I call that service”

Given these varied responses, it’s clear patients have everyday challenges that impact the way they live and the choices they make. Likewise, it can be difficult for our healthcare professionals to know what type of support/encouragement you want. From the survey data, it’s clear many of you want your healthcare professional to encourage you to be healthy, however, some people didn’t want any. Our GPs don’t want to harass or lecture you but would love to work with you and provide the information you need to make healthy lifestyle choices. So, the next time you visit one of our healthcare professionals, consider asking them for help with lifestyle changes that could improve your health.

One option you can try is the ‘Ask Me 3’ program. It involves asking 3 questions during your next visit with your health professional or pharmacist;

Together, you and your GP can develop simple strategies that can lead to sustainable healthy habits that will benefit you as you grow older.