YMCA of Indiana County Blood Pressure Self Monitoring Program

With support from CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, the YMCA of the USA developed an evidence-based Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program (BPSM) to empower adults with high blood pressure to take control of their blood pressure.

The BPSM program is designed to help adults better manage high blood pressure through regular blood pressure self-monitoring and other heart-healthy activities.

The 4-month program works with participants to build skills and capacities that help them:

  • Manage high blood pressure
  • Identify and control triggers that raise blood pressure
  • Adopt healthier eating habits

During the 4-month program and with support from a trained Healthy Heart Ambassador, participants measure and record their blood pressure and attend personalized consultations and Nutrition Education Seminars.

To qualify for the Y-USA BPSM program, participants must be at least 18 years old and:

  • Have been diagnosed with high blood pressure
  • Not have experienced a recent cardiac event
  • Not have atrial fibrillation or other arrhythmias
  • Not be at risk for lymphedema

Healthy Heart Ambassadors

Certified Healthy Heart Ambassadors (HHAs) are an integral part of the Y-USA’s BPSM program. The role of HHAs is to support participants in their journey toward improved health and blood pressure management. HHAs conduct a variety of activities with their assigned participants during the 4-month program. However, they do not diagnose, treat, or manage participants’ high blood pressure or risk factors, nor will they try to convince, direct, or judge participants with regard to their decisions or behaviors. The power of the program is in participants finding their own path
to better blood pressure management, supported by HHAs’ guidance and encouragement.

The power of the program is in participants finding their own paths to better blood pressure management, supported by HHAs’ guidance and encouragement. 

At the beginning of the program, HHAs work with individuals to determine their eligibility, complete their enrollment, and then discuss program goals, activities, and commitments. After orienting participants to the program, HHAs help them build skills and confidence to control their blood pressure through activities such as:

  • Modeling and coaching participants on how to get the most accurate blood pressure readings, based on equipment and environment
  • Using participants’ preferred methods of communication to deliver weekly support messages
  • Hosting monthly Nutrition Education Seminars
  • Offering office hour consultations

HHAs work with participants in a one-on-one setting during office hour consultations, which typically last about 10 minutes. During these consultations, HHAs:

  • Collect health data in accordance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy and security requirements
  • Take and record blood pressure measurements
  • Review tracking goals and the blood pressure measurements participants took at home
  • Model the proper blood pressure measurement technique
  • Coach participants on the proper blood pressure measurement technique
  • Remind participants to track their blood pressure measurements at home
  • Encourage participants to attend future consultations and Nutrition Education Seminars and to share blood pressure readings with their health care provider