How a Prognosis Can Change Blog

John Drebenstedtblog

By Elaine Haag, Cognitive Engagement Specialist

Imagine you are 20 years-old, and several doctors just told you that you would never walk again, and that you would live the rest of your life in a skilled nursing facility …

 A diagnosis is imperative for medical treatment of our residents, but a diagnosis does not define our residents.

A prognosis is the prediction of the likelihood that a diagnosis will follow, but a growth mindset can make any prognosis viable – and possibly changeable.

Byron Health Center has over 130 residents. Byron’s different populations include men and women diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Dementia, Huntington’s Disease (HD), Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and Mental Health Illnesses. Several of our residents even have dual diagnosis of the aforementioned.

Byron Health Center’s medical team does their best to treat and keep our residents healthy. Several stories could be told of the medical team’s dedication. Several of our medical staff have spent decades caring for our various residents. If they were to share their experiences over the past years, some would make you laugh, others would make you cry.

But this blog is about the mindset at Byron Health Center and one of our unique departments: Mind Remapping.

Imagine you are 40-something, suffered a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) and now live at a skilled nursing facility. The stroke has affected your language skills and your ability to walk …

Mind Remapping is a learned strategy to improve quality of life and life’s purpose for each resident with distinctive needs. It is a diverse mediation utilizing certified Feuerstein Instrumental Enrichment (FIE) mediators, sensory input, movement combined with the arts and sciences of music, dance, drawing, painting, reading, writing and math. Mind Remapping is based on Neuroplasticity. The brain has the incredible ability to change, by making new pathways and creating new connections, and, sometimes, generating new neurons.

Mind Remapping concentrates on intrinsic motivation to assist residents with independent (or the least restrictive) living. Our diverse population is challenged physically, mentally and emotionally to initiate personal value and purpose.

Imagine you are young (elementary school aged) and were told that because you were “different”, you would never learn to read or write …

Carol Dweck, Ph. D. wrote an inspiring book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.  I, along with my colleague, Lane Guy, utilize Ms. Dweck’s discoveries regularly. We know that changing a ‘fixed mindset’ – the belief that capabilities are fixed, into a ‘growth mindset’ – the belief that capabilities can be changed, can and does change our resident’s prognosis.

The three imaginary scenarios presented to you here are actual true-to-life events from here at Byron Health Center.

I can tell you the first scenario ended with that 20 year-old walking out of our facility, living independently and now enjoying an abundant life!

In the second scenario, the resident worked diligently for a year-and-a-half in Mind Remapping. He is now walking with a hemi walker and is able to communicate his thoughts and share his immense sense of humor. He has a new girlfriend and lives at our Miller’s Place assisted living.

And in the third scenario, the resident is in the process of learning his ABC’s and is now perfectly capable of writing both lower and uppercase letters!

In these three instances, as well as many other occasions at Byron Health Center, the ‘growth mindset’ of our residents overcame the ‘fixed mindset’ of what they were told by others. They discovered for themselves, through hard work and dedication, what they were truly capable of, not settling for what others believed and changing their own prognosis for themselves.