Christi Deaton: Challenges of Motivating Patients to Participate in CVD Prevention Strategies

The biggest challenges in promoting cardiovascular prevention strategies is motivating people to change a lifetime of poor habits into healthier habits, explained Christi Deaton, PhD, RN, FAHA, FESC, of the University of Cambridge.
Transcript (slightly modified)
What are the challenges of promoting cardiovascular prevention strategies with patients who have already experienced a cardiovascular event?
You’re trying to get people to change a lifetime of bad habits sometimes. It’s difficult to make these kinds of changes and, certainly, people can’t make every change that you might want at one time. It’s about keeping people motivated; it’s about helping them to set realistic goals. So, you reach 1 goal, develop some confidence, and then you can go on and set other goals. The challenge is you have to keep a therapeutic relationship going for a long time and you, and the patient, have to work toward that healthier lifestyle because it’s never going to happen in a month. Or, if somebody tries to make too many changes at one time, they’re not going to be successful, and they’re not going to be able to sustain that and they may get disappointed, and they may think “what’s the point?” 
So, oftentimes people are very motivated right after they’ve had a cardiovascular event, they don’t want to repeat this, but the it’s the sustainability. So, it’s the time and most of our systems are set up to address things immediately, and we don’t always have the long-term follow-up, or the long-term support, for people to make lasting changes. It takes a long time to change habits, particularly if you’ve been eating a certain way and been sedentary for a long time, then to make big changes is going to be a challenge for you.

We need better systems that help to support people as we go along—reminders, booster sessions that we’re using, cognitive behavioral therapy—to help people make those changes and to remain motivated and positive.
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