National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
What is Telephone Lifestyle Coaching? (TLC)
TLC is a Veteran-centric program led by health coaches who talk directly with Veterans one-on-one over the telephone. Coaches help them identify opportunities for behavior change and set realistic goals to improve their overall health and wellbeing. This program can have a positive impact on chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic lung disease, and many cancers, for example. Veterans may choose coaching in several focus areas including:
- managing weight
- being more active
- managing stress
- eating wisely
- limiting alcohol
TLC was first offered to 25 VA medical centers as a pilot that yielded excellent health outcomes including 33% losing at least 5% of their starting weight, increases in physical activity, and decreases in stress and alcohol consumption. Veterans and staff were highly satisfied with the program, coaches and materials.
TLC provides telephone support when and where Veterans want it. They can participate right from home without having to travel to the medical center for care. This is particularly helpful for Veterans who live in rural communities or have scheduling challenges that make face-to-face visits more difficult.
TLC services are provided at no cost to Veterans or your facility. All you need to do is place a consult for TLC (no DST required). Everything else is managed by highly trained and closely monitored health coaches. Up to 10 coaching calls are scheduled at the Veteran’s convenience during normal clinic hours, as well as early morning, late evening and weekends. If desired, Veterans may participate in multiple rounds of TLC. Progress notes from the coaches are documented in CPRS so that clinicians can continue to partner with patients to support their self-management goals.
Who are the TLC coaches and what are their qualifications?
Coaches must possess a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field such as Psychology, Exercise Science, Nutrition/Dietetics or Health Education. Some coaches hold additional certifications such as Registered Dietitian, Certified Health Education Specialist, and Certified Personal Trainer.
Coaches complete 240 hours of training including patient-centered health coaching and Motivational Interviewing training. They are supervised by experienced coaches with a master’s degree and/or 5 years of health coaching experience. Supervision includes periodic monitoring and feedback of coaching calls. Veterans participating in TLC will have the same coach throughout their participation in the program.
How can I learn more about TLC?
If you are interested in bringing TLC to your facility, e-mail TelephoneLifestyleCoaching@va.gov.