When a person is diagnosed with a physical disability it can be overwhelming. Learning how to live with a disability, understand why barriers exists and become an advocate to remove barriers and access resources is a challenge. One of the first resources people use to find more information about disability is the internet. A search engine may produce a surplus of general information with little specificity and real-world application. The traditional rehabilitation process quickly transitions patients from inpatient to outpatient services, and then outpatient services like physical therapy end shortly after. What options exist for the development of health and wellness beyond the medical setting? Lakeshore Foundation and NCHPAD are looking to bridge this gap and shift the focus from rehabilitation to a lifetime of health, wellness and physical activity.
The M.E.N.T.O.R program, which stands for Mindfulness, Exercise and Nutrition to Optimize Recovery takes a holistic approach to restoring, improving and protecting health. For the purposes of this program, health is divided into three domains – physical, mental and emotional health. M.E.N.T.O.R will focus on individuals who have acquired a new disability (spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury), diagnosis (multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease) or have a congenital condition (cerebral palsy, spina bifida). Through this program individuals will learn the multiple ways life can be enhanced through the portal of health and wellness.
The M.E.N.T.O.R program will be offered at Lakeshore Foundation’s campus in Birmingham, Alabama as well as online. The onsite version will offer an extended curriculum, including adapted fitness, sport and recreation. Participants will utilize Lakeshore’s culinary lab to learn new and innovative ways to prepare food and practice stress management in mindfulness classes.
Each participant will be assigned a health coach who will provide support through the onsite and online portions of the program. Individuals will receive a “scorecard” that divides the M.E.N.T.O.R program into 11 evidenced-based elements of health. Each element is part of the acronym, MY SCORECARD: Mindfulness, Your spirit, Self-care, Core values, Outdoor time in nature, Relationship building, Exercise, Contribution to others, Arts and leisure, Rest and relaxation, and Diet.
The online M.E.N.T.O.R program is currently under development and will consist of remote health coaching for individuals who are unable to attend the onsite portion of the study at Lakeshore Foundation. Both onsite and online programs are anticipated to begin in late 2019.