SX14 Examination of JUMPSTART Program: Can Do MS's One Day Lifestyle Empowerment Program

Thursday, May 30, 2013
Heidi Heltzel, CEO and President , Can Do Multiple Sclerosis, Edwards, CO
Sara Anne Thompkins, Ph.D. , Program Planning and Evaluation Consulting, Madipen, LLC, Edwards, CO

Topics: Psychosocial Factors, Quality of Life/Outcomes, Family and caregivers

As MS leads to significant implications for mental and physical functioning with a unique progression trajectory, needed are interventions that encompass the whole person. In particular, the need for empowering strategies that strengthen quality of life and overall health in chronically disabled populations has been called for (e.g., Vanner et al., 2008). In addition to increasing mental empowerment there is a need to attend to physical needs through interventions that promote physical activity and movement. In response, Can Do MS developed the JUMPSTART program. This is a one day nationally distributed program addressing a range of MS issues such as fitness, nutrition, cognition, motivation, and support partner relationships. A variety of MS experts including MDs, RNs, PTs and Psychologist facilitate workshops with 8 conducted from March 2011 to June 2012. Program’s baseline sample shows average age of participants at 49.77 (SD = 12.78) & (61%) women. The majority of participants are PwMS (59%) and the average length of diagnosis is 8.78 yr. (SD = 9.48).  Repeated measures ANOVA were run on data pre and 3-month post to examine if changes were occurring over time within participants. Participants showed significant improvement in benefit finding and MS specific self-efficacy from pre to 3-month post. Specifically, improvement in average MS Benefit Finding Score, F (1,32) = 4.24, p < .05, from pre (M = 2.14; SD = .33) to post (M = 2.23; SD = .31). Improvements in subscales such as compassion/empathy, spiritual growth, and mindfulness were found (p < .10). The MS Self-Efficacy Scale showed improvement, F (1,35) = 2.81, p = .10, from pre (M = 543.61; SD = 176.64) to post (M = 580.28; SD = 136.04). Additional outcomes include reports of satisfaction, use of skills learned and positive behavior changes made at post and 3-months. JUMPSTART is one of the few one day MS-specific empowerment programs being offered across the country for PwMS and SPs. Current results demonstrate strong evidence of program success in clinically meaningful and satisfaction outcomes. Excitingly, the changes in MS benefit finding and self-efficacy can translate to a variety of long term consequences such as improved quality of life and better management of MS. These findings provide us a strong initial indication that JUMPSTART is an effective way to introduce the Can Do MS mission of lifestyle empowerment and assist in an individuals’ MS journey. Data collection is ongoing.