Kim Lavoie, PhD, FCPA, FABMR
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Montréal, QC

Poor health behaviours (tobacco smoking, physical inactivity, and treatment non-adherence) are common causes and/or exacerbators of chronic respiratory diseases (asthma, COPD). Interventions focusing on education and “advice-giving” have failed to produce significant behaviour/lifestyle change in the majority of patients, often resulting in patient dissatisfaction with care and provider frustration. Motivational communication (MC) is an evidence-based client-centred communication style that has become increasingly popular within health care settings. At the heart of MC is getting patients to overcome their ambivalence (“I want to quit smoking, but…”) about health behaviour change through the use of basic motivational communication techniques. MC encourages empowering patients to take responsibility for their health and well-being, where healthcare professionals only serve as coaches or guides in the behaviour change process. This presentation will review the basic philosophy and ‘spirit’ of MC and illustrate how it may be used to support behaviour change in respiratory disease patients.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of communication skills for respiratory disease prevention and management;
  • Recognize the core principles and skills of motivational communication (MC); and
  • Demonstrate some of the basic skills of motivational communication (asking, listening and informing) to improve adherence and health risk behaviours and respiratory disease outcomes.

CanMEDS Roles Addressed: Collaborator, Communicator, Health Advocate, Professional