University of Toronto, Canada
Helen Healy, Occupational Therapist graduated from Dublin, Ireland, Director of the Life Skills Institute Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto Ontario 1994-2010. She was the member of the international federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus 2009 to present. Clinical expertise is in, program development, transition planning for youth. She was the consultant and instructor at University of Toronto, OISE, Fanshaw Humber and Centennial Collages. Inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame 2012.
Transition from Rehabilitation to an environment that fosters optimal health for people post traumatic episode or living with a chronic health care condition is necessary in order to increase wellness and to prevent secondary health care conditions. There exists a major gap in providing fitness and recreation opportunities for individuals leaving rehabilitation and reintegrating into community. This gap was identified repeatedly by Rehabilitation Hospitals. A Committee built on active partnership of stakeholders used the L.E.A.N approach, developed objectives and a detailed process. It outlined the professionals responsible for education, orientation, site visits, active liaison and ensuring accountability. Funding was received in 2012 for a three year pilot addressing the needs of persons post stroke. First stage; an intensive six week program which educates and supports participants post recovery, introduction to fitness based physical activity and health focussed lifestyles. The second stage; ongoing commitment to a monitored fitness regimen. Three sessions will be completed by August 2013. Interviews and attendance will be tracked over the three years careful monitoring of the participants health care will be screened in order to track continued health. Measurements include; Cardiovascular, Quality of life and weightloss.
Understanding and collaboration of cultural differences between medical and fitness professionals is paramount so that credibility and trust is felt by the clients moving from rehabilitation into their community