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Spinal Cord Injury Paralysis Resource Center

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Reeve Foundation Peer and Family Support Program

Become a Reeve Certified Peer Mentor

Peer Mentor Training at the Courage Center

What is a Reeve Certified Peer Mentor
A Reeve Certified Peer Mentor is someone special -- a person who is thriving in their own life and can demonstrate the life skills that empower others to reach for their own goals.

Click here to complete an online mentor application.

A person living with paralysis, a family member, loved one or professional caregiver caring for someone in our community that is intimately aware of their local resources, programs, medical suppliers, employment or education opportunities, the overall accessibility of their community and can share their tips & tricks.

A peer mentor is part of a national peer program and a member of the most diversified pool of mentors in the country. As a Reeve Certified Peer Mentor you will not only have the opportunity to mentor peers in your area, but also possibly remote mentor peers across the country.

To be a Reeve Certified Peer Mentor, you must:
- Be living with paralysis or a family member/caregiver for at least a year
- Have a positive outlook and thriving in life
- Have the desire and time to volunteer in the program
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality
- Be knowledgeable about local community resources
- Have good interpersonal skills
- Have the ability to travel locally
- Have completed a specialized certification program, passed a federal background check and signed a code of conduct agreement

A peer mentor agrees to abide by the Peer & Family Support Program (PFSP) code of conduct, along with hospital and rehabilitation center facility rules governing privacy and access to the facility's premises.

Peer Mentor Training at the Boca Raton

The Reeve Foundation supports its peer mentors by providing:
- Expert training and certification
- A national network of peer mentors
- A secure online community where mentors can exchange ideas, information and solutions (MentorNet)
- A dedicated staff of regional coordinators
- Comprehensive information on local, state, and national resources
- Direct contact to Reeve Foundation Information Specialists
- Direct access to the world's largest lending library collection on paralysis-related materials and the national Paralysis Resource Center

Expectations of a Peer Mentor
Peer mentoring someone at a vulnerable time in their life will be a fluid situation. We want to allow for the relationships to develop at their own pace, and not impose a lot of rules and requirements. We believe that the peer mentor training and certification process, the mentor's judgment and life experiences, along with the support of the regional coordinator and the program staff will allow a mentor to successfully manage each peer mentor relationship.

However, we feel certain professional standards should be outlined and adhered to, such as a peer mentor should:
- Reach out initially within specified timeframe
- Keep all appointments and be on time (allowing for extenuating circumstances)
- Listen without judging
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality
- Allow the mentor to set the meeting's discussion points
- Not tell a peer what to do or how to act
- Be courteous and professional

Peer Mentor Training at the Boca Raton

Time commitment for a peer mentor
Initial training requires a peer mentor candidate to complete the online course modules, achieve a passing grade on the assessment, and attend the 1-day onsite peer mentor training session.

After the initial training, the time commitment can vary from mentor to mentor significantly, and can fluctuate over time. By design we have not established requirements for number of meetings, length of meetings, discussion points within the meetings, etc. This is a peer focused program so the peer determines frequency of meetings, topics, duration etc. The peer always has the right to stop the conversation, or redirect it towards a new topic where they feel more comfortable.

Generally speaking, a peer mentor should be prepared to spend approximately an hour with a peer.

Anecdotally, we have not had any issues with peer mentors feeling overwhelmed with the time commitments of the program.

How do we match a peer mentor with a peer?
After successfully completing the training, peer mentor candidates are officially certified as Reeve peer mentors. Mentors will be added to the list of available mentors in their respective region and the regional coordinator will then begin to match the mentor with a peer as soon as possible. This may take time, as a peer is not always available to be matched with. Don't be concerned or disappointed if it takes time to be matched to a peer.

The peer mentor and peer match is extremely important. Every effort is made to match a peer with a peer mentor that is of the similar:
- Level of injury or type of paralysis
- Gender
- Approximate age
- Cause of paralysis
- Urban/rural dweller
- Ethnicity/Culture
- Civilian/Veteran
- Has similar hobbies or interests
- Region and locale

Remote Mentoring
In cases where we have difficulty matching locally, we identify another peer mentor within our national network of mentors. The peer and mentor will work together remotely (via phone, email, Skype, etc.).

Remote mentoring offers the opportunity for peer mentors to help peers who may otherwise not be able to receive local mentoring. Remote mentoring also allows local organizations and partners to widen the pool of potential peer mentors.

The Peer Appointment
A peer mentor will be contacted by the regional coordinator after they have been matched with a peer.

A request for a hospital visit should be met within 2-3 days. Our priority is that the new peer is seen as soon as possible: so, the first available peer mentor may be scheduled to do the hospital visit. We will ensure a more appropriate match is made after the hospital visit if necessary.

If a peer requests a mentor meeting in the community, the regional coordinator will identify the appropriate match and contact the peer mentor. The peer mentor then is required to schedule a meeting within 5 days of receiving the notification from the regional coordinator.

Encounter Reporting
In order to maintain a record of impact on our community; we require that all peer mentor/peer encounters be reported. All peer mentors are required to complete a very simple encounter report after each visit. It is a quick and easy to use the online form that captures basic information of the visit with a peer. Although these encounter reports are quick and easy, they are vital to the success of the program.

How to apply?
Click here to complete an online mentor application. The PFSP is also looking for mentors that live with or care for people that are paralyzed from other paralyzing conditions from a stroke, MS, ALS, Spinal Bifida etc.

Download the Peer & Family Support Program brochure (PDF).

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Pediatric SCI (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Religion and People with Disabilities (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Adjustment to SCI (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Aging with SCI (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Caregivers PCAs Respite (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Veterans Benefits (PDF)

Military & Veterans Programs (MVP)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on SCI Autobiogs or Biogs (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on SCI Chat Rooms (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on SCI Research (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on SCI Tutorial 101 (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on SCI Videos (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Deep Vein Thrombosis (PDF) - English

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Deep Vein Thrombosis (PDF) - Spanish

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on Mindfullness (PDF)

A Reeve Foundation Fact Sheet on New Injury Top 10 Questions (PDF)

Arkansas Spinal Cord CommissionThe mission of the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission is to administer a statewide program to identify and meet the unique and lifelong needs of people with spinal cord disabilities in the state.

American Association of SCI Psychologists and Social WorkersPromote research to improve quality of care and works to improve skills and techniques of members.

Angel Flight for VeteransVeterans Angel Flight (VAF) facilitates no-cost or reduced-rate patient travel services for needy veterans and their families.

CaringRoad.comCaringRoad.com is dedicated to helping family caregivers obtain information, locate services and find support so they can make informed decisions about the care of their loved ones. An online community of family caregivers.

CareCure CommunityCareCure Community features a SpinalNurse bulletin board with informed comments on matters of the bowel, and all issues of paralysis.

Canadian & American Spinal Research OrganizationPromotes and supports funding research to ultimately find a cure for paralysis. Also publishes journal of latest research they fund. Call (800) 361-4004 or use the link above.

Canadian Paraplegic AssociationAssists people with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities to achieve individuality, self-reliance and full community participation. Call (613) 723-1033 or use the link above.

Craig HospitalWith funding from the US Department of Education's National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research, has developed educational materials to help people with spinal cord injuries live in the community maintain their health. Topics include skin care, exercise, heart disease, weight control, alcohol abuse and conditions related to the aging body. Use the link above and click on SCI Health and Wellness.

Caregiver.comOffers a directory of support groups for caregivers.

The Caregiver InitiativeA project of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company to help family caregivers provide care to their loved ones and reduce their own stress. Includes information on caregiver needs, and training materials for family caregivers.

Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC)The mission of the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is to serve active duty military, their dependents and veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) through state-of-the-art medical care, innovative clinical research initiatives and educational programs.

Department of Veterans Affairs -- Benefits AdministrationCommitted to helping veterans get the services they have earned such as patient care and veteran's benefits.

Determined 2 HealProvides helpful information for the newly spinal cord injured.

Disabled American VeteransAn organization of disabled veterans focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families.

Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain InjuryDCoE assesses, validates, oversees and facilitates prevention, resilience, identification, treatment, outreach, rehabilitation, and reintegration programs for psychological health and traumatic brain injury to ensure the Department of Defense meets the needs of the nation's military communities, warriors and families.

Fisher HouseThe Fisher House™ program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. The program recognizes the special sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and the hardships of military service by meeting a humanitarian need beyond that normally provided by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Family Caregiver AllianceCaregiver Media Group is a leading provider of information, support and guidance for family and professional caregivers.

Family Caregiving: It's Not All Up to YouNFCA and the National Alliance for Caregiving launched a public education campaign to give information and support to caregivers.

Homes For Our TroopsTheir mission is to build specially adapted homes for severely disabled soldiers and their families.

Federal Recovery Coordinator ProgramThe program is designed to cut across bureaucratic lines and reach into the private sector as necessary to identify services needed for seriously wounded and ill service members, veterans and their families.

Homes for Wounded HeroesThis program assist veterans in adapting their homes for a disability that occurred serving in Iraq or Afghanistan at little or no cost for the veteran.

Fallen Patriot FundWas established to help families of U.S. military personnel who were killed or seriously injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Injured Marine Semper Fi FundProvides financial assistance and quality of life solutions to marines and sailors injured in combat, training, or with life threatening illness. Can help with associate expenses including purchasing of special equipment, adaptive vans or vehicles, and handicap home purchases and modification.

FacingDisability.comFacing Disability is a web resource with more than 1,000 videos drawn from interviews of people with spinal cord injuries, their families, caregivers and experts. I know that this is a lot to ask, but we'd be so grateful for your help. I'm looking forward to discussing this link with you, and to answering any questions you may have.

Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery at the University of LouisvilleThe Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery provides activity-based therapies to promote recovery from neurologic injury in children; conducts research to enhance recovery; and trains families, practitioners and scientists to maximize recovery and improve the quality of life for children and their families. In short, we are here to help kids kick paralysis and through science have every reason to hope.

Military One SourceMilitary OneSource is provided by the Department of Defense at no cost to active duty, Guard and Reserve (regardless of activation status) and their families. Military OneSource is there for military personnel and their families by phone or online.

Model Systems CentersA federally funded program of 14 specialty medical and/or rehabilitation centers across the US. The SCI Care System collects and submits acute, rehabilitation and follow-up (annual, long-term post-discharge) data on SCI patients who received care in the these centers following injury.

The Miami Project to Cure ParalysisThe Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has studied functional electrical systems for exercise.

National Family Caregiver Association (NFCA)The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers' lives by removing barriers to health and well being.

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC)NSCISC supervises and directs the collection, management and analysis of the world's largest spinal cord injury database. Headquartered at the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA)At NSCIA, we educate and empower survivors of spinal cord injury and disease to achieve and maintain the highest levels of independence, health and personal fulfillment. We fulfill this mission by providing an innovative Peer Support Network and by raising awareness about spinal cord injury and disease through education.

National Alliance for CaregivingThe Alliance was created to conduct research, do policy analysis, develop national programs, increase public awareness of family care giving issues, work to strengthen state and local care giving coalitions, and represent the US care giving community internationally.

New York Online Access to Health (N.O.A.H)Offers information and links related to spinal cord and head injury treatment, rehabilitation, and children. Materials in Spanish.

Neuroscience for KidsOffers an understandable look at the segments of the spinal cord; from University of Washington.

NJ Self-Help Group ClearinghouseEnables people to help themselves with self-help groups.

OEF/OIF ServicesOperation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

Operation Helping HealProvides financial assistance to wounded service men and women returning from our current overseas military operations.

Paralyzed Veterans of America, in support of The Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine, offers authoritative clinical practice guidelines for bladder management. Consumer guides are available to download.

Rebuilding Together's Heroes at HomeHeroes at Homesm was launched by Rebuilding Together and Sears Holdings in May 2007. Heroes at Home strives to improve the lives of all low-income U.S. service members, veterans, and military families in need across America by making necessary repairs, improvements, and modifications to their homes.

Rebuilding Together's Veterans Housing InitiativeCreated to meet the growing needs of veterans from past and present wars. The initiative serves to fill the gaps in housing modifications and repair services that retired and active service men and women struggle to meet. Working in partnership with corporate sponsors, Rebuilding Together's Veterans Housing Initiative strives to provide safe and accessible housing for all low-income veterans.

Red Cross Family Caregiving ResourcesInformation for caregivers.

SpineUniverseAt SpineUniverse our goal is to help patients and their families understand their back or neck problems. In clear, straightforward language we aim to explain what causes spinal problems and how they can be treated. We are committed to ensure that all of the information we present is trustworthy and of the highest quality.

Spinal Cord Injury CaregiversYahoo Internet Forum is a place to share information and to support other caregivers who are caring for people with SCI.

Spinal Cord Injury Information NetworkThe Spinal Cord Injury Information Center features clinical information about bowel management and all other medical issues of paralysis.

Soldiers AngelsProvides financial assistance to OEF OIF service members and veterans for financial assistance to pay mortgages and utilities.

University of Alabama at BirminghamOffers an information sheet (Info Sheet #11) on bladder care and management.

United Spinal AssociationOur mission is to improve the quality of life of all Americans living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS), and post polio.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Fact Sheet: VA and Spinal Cord InjuryOf the more than 250,000 Americans with serious spinal cord injuries and disorders, about 42,000 are veterans eligible for medical care and other benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

VA Center LocatorGuide to the over 1300 VA centers in the US broken down by region.

Well Spouse AssociationA national, not for profit membership organization that gives support to wives, husbands, and partners of the chronically ill and/or disabled. Through information and support groups, the organization address issues common to family caregivers: anger, guilt, fear, isolation, grief, and financial threat.

The Wounded Warrior ProjectSeeks to assist those men and women of our armed forces who have been severely injured during the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world.

Paralysis Resource Center The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

Reeve Foundation Online Paralysis Community Connecting people living with paralysis, families, friends and caregivers so we can share support, experience, knowledge, and hope.

Quality of Life Grants DatabaseFind resources within the PRC Quality of Life Grants Database. Search by Zip Code, State or an Entire Category.

Library Books and VideosFind resources within the PRC library catalog.

  • Email our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Call our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Call our Paralysis Information Specialists
  • Newly paralyzed or spinal cord injured? Start here.
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Paralysis Resource Guide

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The Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Information Specialists are reachable business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at 800-539-7309 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern U.S. Time. International callers use 973-467-8270. You may also schedule a call or send a message online.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 90PR3001, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.