September 3, 2020: When physical therapist Carol-Ann Nelson moved back to her native Oregon after spending several years on the East Coast, she looked for a way to help people with neurologic conditions and chronic diseases enjoy and benefit from the wonderful outdoor spaces in which she'd grown up. The result: Destination Rehab — a hub of adventure, independence, and community that welcomes participants ages 18 to 90+ years.
Destination Rehab offers individual physical therapy and mutually supportive group outings for people with physical limitations from conditions like stroke, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson disease. The unique program allows participants to part in lake activities, scenic bike trails, and mountain views, and even to embark on multiday retreats.
In this episode of Move Forward Radio, Carol-Ann talks about how her dream came together. She also shares stories of memorable participants who’ve made the facility their destination for healthy movement, neurologic recovery, improved quality of life, and just plain fun.
Joining us to share her experience is outdoor enthusiast Sally McAllister, who feared that her time to hike, bike, and kayak had run out due to a progressive disease — until she met Carol-Ann and the staff and volunteers at Destination Rehab.
Helen Keller once said, "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.” That quote motivated Carol-Ann to create Destination Rehab, and it reflects the experience of Sally, who calls the facility a "game-changer" in her life.
Here's our conversation with Carol-Ann and Sally.
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Carol-Ann Nelson, PT, DPT, is founder and director of Destination Rehab in Bend, Oregon. She treats patients with a variety of complex neurologic conditions, including spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson, Guillain-Barre, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and multiple sclerosis. After receiving a doctor of physical therapy degree from Duke University, she began her career in the Neuro Recovery Center at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Florida. Carol-Ann combines her love of the outdoors with her passion for bringing people to a new level of confidence and the ability to enjoy life and stay active!
Sally MacAllister is an avid hiker and very active 70-year-old with primary progressive multiple sclerosis. After moving with her husband to Oregon to retire, she sought help to battle symptoms of her disease, and her neurologist recommended Destination Rehab. She calls the program a game-changer and a lifesaver for the ways it allows her and so many others to maintain an active lifestyle and continue to enjoy the great outdoors.