Sustaining a spinal cord injury, undergoing rehabilitation and building a new life is a difficult and challenging experience. Recovering from the physical trauma comes first; the emotional, mental and lifestyle adjustments which follow allow individuals to move on and lead full and productive lives.
The spinal cord injury team at HHH is dedicated to helping patients and families through the initial recovery and rehabilitation process. Physicians, therapists and other team members ensure that patients have access to the care and resources required to maximize recovery. However, many patients find that being able to connect with someone living with a spinal cord injury is helpful in successfully transitioning to their new lifestyle. With this in mind, the hospital instituted a Peer Mentoring program.
A peer mentor is an individual living with a spinal cord injury who shares his or her experiences, knowledge and support with someone newly injured. They may discuss managing physical conditions, tips on daily living skills or ideas on home or vehicle modifications. A peer mentor can make a tremendous difference in how successfully someone adjusts to spinal cord injury, effectively helping to restore a newly injured person’s self-confidence and coping skills and providing a new social network.
Patients find that mentors offer tremendous support and understanding, which may not be available from other sources. Families report that mentors are an excellent source of information and provide a sounding board for concerns and questions. Developed by the United Spinal Association, the Peer Mentoring program at HHH is an integral and valuable component of the comprehensive rehabilitation program.