In order to offer an effective response to the patients suffering from a variety of mental troubles, Hélène has designed a holistic non-drug care process that complements rather than replaces the patient’s current care treatment. Through her organization, Equiphoria, Hélène is working to change global perceptions on how the care for disabled patients should be handled, using the example of equine therapy.
Driven by a medical focus, and leaning on scientific research, Hélène has standardized high-quality diagnostic and treatment protocols using the human-horse bond. For instance, horses have to be selected and trained in a very specific way. In addition, Hélène selects the most extreme cases, for whom caregivers have had to adopt limitative practices (for example, using a restraint system to ensure patient security), leads rigorous clinical studies and partners with academic institutions to precisely track her therapy’s impact. To make this possible, Hélène developed with an engineer a unique equine simulator to take measures of the patient’s plasticity and record improvements after the horse-riding session.
To sustainably increase the patient’s autonomy, Hélène’s care process takes into consideration the persons closely associated to the patient’s personal and medical environment. To do so, Hélène systematically involves the closest (most frequent and consistent) caregivers or family members in the therapeutic sessions, thus providing them with the unique opportunity to observe and learn about the patient’s potential. The professional caregivers are empowered through a dedicated one-day training to actively participate in the sessions. This results in a new configuration that allows for the patient’s progression and a change of mindset within the patient’s closest environment. By impacting the caregivers’ mindset, Hélène provokes a ripple effect that reaches the extended medical network, including the socio-medical institutions. To track this impact on the daily environment of the patient, Hélène designed a study to be led independently on the socio-medical institutions.
To reach the greatest number of families and medical professionals, Hélène builds a network of therapy centers through a licensing model; this model is particularly consistent as it allows guaranteeing high-quality standards, absolutely necessary in the medical world, while allowing the specialization of each center in the treatment of specific pathologies. To achieve this, Hélène rigorously identified and designed the trainings, the detailed requirement specifications and procedures that need to be strictly followed when developing and managing an Equiphoria-labeled center. She is currently identifying the right local medical partners, among them Ashoka Fellows, to extend the network of centers.
To induce a broader mindset change toward patient care and make her approach really mainstream, Hélène engages a wide range of key players. She opens the medical professionals (prescribers) to her vision by activating two levers: first, she leverages her scientific results to communicate within the medical community; second, she contributes to change the way future medical professionals are taught: in Montpellier, she is strategically infiltrating the academic circles by implanting an Equiphoria center at the heart of a university research park dedicated to Medicine. But Hélène not only engages medical professionals through her approach but also public health agencies and private insurance companies who ensure the financial accessibility of her care process. The regional health authority already authorized the socio-medical institutions to use part of their public funds to provide Equiphoria’s therapeutic sessions to their patients. Today, 20+ publicly funded socio-medical institutions partners with Equiphoria, and Hélène already convinced one major French private insurance company to reimburse 100% of Equiphoria’s care process to its clients.
Hélène’s methodology being based on stimulating the intrinsic motivation of every single patient, making him an actor of his own treatment, it is possible to open the scope of the pathologies this care process can address. Looking to the future, Hélène is adapting her model to design a pilot-program that will provide care and improved wellbeing to women with breast cancer. She is also imagining financially leaner adaptations of her model to be created for developing countries and she has already identified the African diaspora population within France as a unique lever to expand her vision at an international level.