Case vignette

Connecting a patient with community resources.

Inclusive Language Illustration

Connecting a patient with community resources.

An elderly patient reports feeling isolated and lonely.

Health coach

I’ve noticed that you haven’t spoken about going outside for your usual walks lately.

Patient

I haven’t gone in over a week. It’s been really hard to be motivated to go outside.

Health coach

What do you think has made it hard? Your walks and the things you see on the walks are usually the first thing you talk about when we meet.

Patient

If I’m being honest, when I first started, it gave me a chance to see people in my neighborhood and feel more connected. But I always walk alone and now it’s making me feel even more lonely and more isolated.

Health coach

Thank you for sharing that. Together, we set the goal for a daily walk, both for getting some physical movement and for feeling less isolated, but now I’m hearing it’s making you feel more lonely. How would you feel about us reaching out to some local community centers to see if they have any walking groups you can join?

Patient

They have things like that? Oh, I didn’t know that! If they have walking groups, I’d love to join one! It would help me get out of the house if I know I’d be meeting up with other people.

Health coach

Great, let’s look up some resources and get you connected to some community centers in your neighborhood.

Patient

Health coach

Patient

Health coach

Patient

Health coach

Patient

Things to consider.

01

Patients not following through on health goals can be seen as non-adherence, but the reasons can range from lack of access to social support, finances, transportation, or adequate resources.

02

Loneliness can interfere with patients taking care of their health. Finding ways to pair socializing with activities such as physical movement or meals can help improve both physical and emotional health.

Question to think about:

How can you better understand what gets in the way of your patients pursuing their health goals?

Ask for pronouns
Ask how the patient is doing
Ask for consent before touching
All of the above