Strategies in helping people to change
Health care professionals need to accept the challenge to become agents of change, nudging, motivating, educating, coaching and supporting individuals to overcome their alcohol or drug addiction throughout the process of change. To do this, providers of health care need to understand the nature of change, assess the readiness of individuals to change and communicate in ways that facilitate behavioural change. The role of the change agent is to assist people in understanding why change is needed and, more importantly, understand how it benefits them. A change agent must be an active listener and provide tools, assistance and resources to enable change to occur. The issues of increasing patient motivation to change are based on a number of theories and models. The theories or models include the health action model, health belief model, the theory of reasoned action, the trans-theoretical stages of change model, social learning theory, social cognitive theory, the theory of planned behaviour, community development and models of organisational change. The stage of change model is of practical value when selecting appropriate interventions. By identifying an individual’s position in the change process, intervention strategies can be tailored to match the individual’s readiness to change.