The Neuro-Specialty Rehabilitation Unit at Intermountain Healthcare’s Intermountain Medical Center – sometimes known as “The Miracle Unit” because of its impact on patients who’ve experienced a life-changing trauma – is celebrating three years of its unique peer mentorship program that uses former patients from the unit to help current patients create more miracles.
RAMMP (Rehab Advocates Mindset Mentorship Program) helps patients in Neuro Rehab – who’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, a brain injury, a stroke, an amputation, paralysis, a medical complication, and similar serious experiences – cope with their new lifestyles.
During the last year due to COVID-19, the volunteer program had to get creative and rely on virtual mentorship opportunities.
“We’re connecting our inpatients with someone who’s already gone through what they’re going through to help improve their outcomes,” says occupational therapist Bonnie Larsen, OTR/L, the program’s coordinator. “Now with the reduction in COVID-19 cases the volunteers will be able to connect face-to-face with the patients they are mentoring – that’s life-changing.”
During the first year of RAMMP, the program had 12 rehab advocates, all volunteers. This year it’s now expanding to 30. They provide one-on-one coaching and counseling with inpatients in their rooms, take turns coming to weekly support groups, and encourage participation in monthly sporting events in partnership with community partners like Wasatch Adaptive Sports, a local nonprofit group.
Each of the activities provides social interaction, emotional support, validation, and advice on post-rehab topics such as stress management, exercise, coping, and education.
Larsen sees it as her personal mission to help others see their value, challenge their assumptions and beliefs about themselves and embrace the person they’re becoming including their challenges or disability.
“Anyone can lead a healthy fulfilling life if they choose to do so, it may look different than before, but with the right mindset, anything is possible,” said Larsen.
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