Making the Shift: From Patient Activation to Community Activation

This Program to Achieve Wellness webinar moderated by Crystal L. Brandow, Ph.D., examines patient activation in behavioral health treatment and how community wellness affects individual wellness. The webinar presenters were Sue Bergeson, Chacku Mathai, Margaret Walkover, and Wendy Ellis. In behavioral health, activation refers to the six core elements that patients practice when taking their care provider’s recommendations. One such element is active engagement. An engaged patient has an established bond with a system of care focused on health and well-being. However, an engaged patient is not always an activated patient. An activated patient manages their symptoms and takes part in behaviors that support the maintenance of their health and functioning. They are involved in their treatment decisions, manage their symptoms, collaborate with providers, are critical in choosing their care providers, and navigate the provider system well. A patient that navigates the provider system well knows how to get to their appointments and receive coverage.

Activated patients that are invested in their care and treatment in these ways become self-advocates, and changed behaviors developed in treatment are more likely to last. The long-term goal of patient activation is for the patient to gain independence from their care provider, reducing the number of visits as a result of sustained positive behaviors. Providers can encourage patient activation by asking the patient questions about their behaviors: how do they manage their symptoms? What are their favorite physical activities? Are there any physical activities they enjoy that they can incorporate into their recovery plan? How can they engage the patient more in their care? Are they satisfied with the care they are receiving? These questions can help both the patient and provider meet the needs of the patient to aid their activation and, consequentially, their recovery.

Community activation is a continuation of patient activation. Community activation involves organizing community organizations and community members to increase awareness and consensus around health problems. Community activation programs must address the needs of the community and acknowledge an individual’s lived experiences and challenges. Speakers address these concerns and provide instructions for developing a community activation program. Organizational partnership and county support will be highly influential in the program’s outcome, making this an essential resource for behavioral health providers and community-based organizations.

This resource was first shared in 2018.

(Presentation, YouTube)

VIEW RESOURCE