What it is:
The PRC's mission is to be a comprehensive, national source of information for people living with paralysis and their caregivers to promote health, foster involvement in the community and improve quality of life. Through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it provides quality information on paralysis in a variety of ways; through highly-trained Information Specialists who can be contacted via telephone or e-mail; through in-person visits to its office; through visits to its website paralysis.org and social networking sites; or through loans from its national clearinghouse library of paralysis-related publications. An integral part of the PRC is connections made by the Information Specialists between clients and the Foundation's Quality of Life Grants program recipients. This program awards grants to organizations providing community-based services and programs throughout the nation to increase health, wellness, and quality of life.
What it has accomplished / what we have learned:
As insurers pay for less and less time in rehabilitation centers after paralysis, people have less time to learn how to live healthy independent lives and more people are turning to and relying on the PRC for information and support. The PRC has reached tens of thousands of those living with paralysis and their families with useful, often life-saving and life-changing information.
Annual evaluation surveys have been conducted to inform the direction of PRC programs and services. The PRC has also led a movement toward a functional view of paralysis as a disability. Our 2009 population-based survey identified approximately 5.6M people living with paralysis caused by central nervous system disorders. Grouping mobility impairments requiring a range of assistive devices from canes and walkers to high end power wheelchairs allows us to better understand the public health impact of these conditions and direct efforts appropriately. Other survey data documented disparities in African-American and Native American populations now targeted for services by the PRC.
What are the next steps:
The implementation of ongoing national surveys of people living with paralysis will identify both problems and solutions to overcoming secondary conditions due to paralysis. This information will be translated into PRC information services and products and guide the Quality of Life Grants program.
At the same time, the Foundation is developing more local and regionalized approaches to information and support through a Reeve Foundation Peer Support program to grow the opportunity for face to face service delivery throughout the nation. This network of experienced individuals will work hand-in-hand with the centralized PRC and grants programs to provide more effective support. We will also implement additional targeted outreach to current and former members of the military to leverage the PRC services throughout the military/veteran communities.
Health improvement programs to address obesity reduction through exercise and nutrition, tobacco abuse cessation, and aging with a spinal cord injury, are specifically targeted for development in partnership with other organizations.
Get additional information about the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC).