Health Promotion for People with Disabilities: The Need for a Transitional Model in Service Delivery


James H. Rimmer, Ph.D.
Department of Disability and Human Development, College of Applied Health Sciences,
University of Illinois at Chicago

Health promotion programs offered in the general community often present physical, attitudinal and knowledge barriers that limit participation by people with disabilities. These environmental barriers and the lack of information on how to overcome them make it difficult for people with disabilities to engage in health promoting behaviors. This paper presents a brief overview of health promotion for people with disabilities in the areas of exercise, nutrition and health education, and describes a service delivery model that addresses the needs of this important subgroup. The primary emphasis of the model is to provide instructional guidance to persons with disabilities in the Supportive Transitional Setting that will assist them in overcoming environmental barriers to participation in their community (i.e., home or wellness facility). The Supportive Transitional Setting is used to empower people with disabilities to adopt healthier lifestyles and manage various secondary conditions related to their disability (e.g., fatigue, weakness, pain). A sample program conducted in this setting is described at the end of the paper.

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