A lifestyle management program is an intervention specifically designed to encourage positive behaviour and healthy lifestyle change and is now commonly used in the area of healthcare marketing. It is a clinically supervised strategy that aim to enhance wellness, promote weight control and decrease healthcare costs. This technique can also be applied to stop or reduce behaviours that are considered risky or have been associated with poor health. The strategies are designed to maximize client benefits while reducing costs and increasing access to quality health care.
The term “lifetime” has many different meanings but in general it is used to indicate a period of time (i.e. a month) or a stage of life (i.e. a career). This broader usage can be useful in considering what changes need to be made for a person to achieve well-being and improve their personal health.
The first component of lifestyle management is to identify and document lifestyle goals. These goals can include such elements as physical activity and healthy diet, reduced smoking, maintaining a regular personal hygiene routine, consuming adequate alcohol/food, and setting and achieving realistic goals regarding weight loss and/or increased fitness. Goals need to be specific, achievable, relevant, and timely. All participants in a lifestyle management program are encouraged to set and achieve short-term and long-term goals as part of their participation. This helps participants identify potential barriers and to consider possible solutions.
The second component of lifestyle management is to monitor and evaluate personal goals. Participants are encouraged to regularly review and evaluate their personal goals, noting the status of each as progress is made. Additionally, participants are encouraged to keep a daily journal detailing their daily progress and comparing this to their weekly goals. Reviewing and evaluating personal goals is an essential component of lifestyle management.
The third component of lifestyle management is to develop and implement a plan for change. This plan can be a personalized one devised by the participant or one that is recommended by a professional. In either case, it should contain several specific elements. It should begin with an assessment of current behavior and a listing of possible ways in which the person could change their behavior and/or personal goals. It should be followed by a list of strategies for changing individual eating habits and a description of the expected end state. Finally, the plan should provide a number of achievable goals, time lines for reaching them, and reminders to remain on track.
In addition to making lifestyle changes, participants in a wellness programme are encouraged to engage in activities that promote health. These may include joining a local community organisation or joining a sports team. Participating in social activities, while still keeping routine personal care responsibilities, provides a means of reducing isolation symptoms and, in some cases, allows participants to work towards creating lasting relationships. A quality health promotion programme encourages participants to take control of their health and well-being. It should also create a support network for the participant which includes family, friends, colleagues. The creation of a supportive network provides the motivation participants need to continue their participation in the programme.
In the context of personal health and wellness programmes, the term ‘wellness’ refers to the ability to manage and maintain good physical, mental, social and emotional health. It also covers aspects such as self-acceptance, stress management, flexibility, health expectations and stress management. This holistic approach views wellness from a multi-dimensional perspective, promoting a balanced approach to achieving well-being. This is in contrast to the more narrow focus of ‘hazard management’, which focuses on treating disorders only, or managing symptoms only.
The field of healthcare management covers a range of related fields, including pediatrics, elder care, geriatrics, cardiology, optometry, rehabilitation, psychology, social sciences, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Some wellness programs are conducted by private hospitals and community health professionals. Community health professionals are those who work with individuals, families, organizations and groups to develop and support community-based wellness programmes. They may include nutrition specialists, dietitians, physicians and nurses. These professionals can assist with assessing and developing individualized health programmes, facilitating care, and providing support services.