Our therapeutic recreation (TR) therapists utilize a wide range of activities to help patients make improvements in the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and leisure areas of their lives. They assist patients in developing skills, knowledge and behaviors for daily living and community involvement. Recreation therapists work with the patient to incorporate specific interests into therapy to achieve optimal outcomes that transfer to real life situations. Research supports the concept that people with satisfying lifestyles will be happier and healthier.
The following are examples of TR activities integrated into our patient’s therapy plan:
- Gardening—Techniques are employed to assist patients to learn new skills or regain those that are lost. Gardening helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills and socialization. In physical rehabilitation, gardening can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance and endurance. Patients also learn to work independently, problem solve and follow directions. Education is also provided on adaptive tools and techniques for home use.
- Nintendo Wii—A recreation therapist can use the Wii gaming system to increase endurance, balance and the ability to follow directions. It’s an activity that is a great change of pace for patients and meets the needs of the patients’ progress by increasing challenges as they improve.
- Table games—Games can play an effective role in recovery for all diagnoses. Games allow patients to work on socialization, word finding, attention, problem solving, communication and fine motor skills. Games we use include cribbage, Scrabble, cards, Taboo, Connect Four and Scattergories.
- Therapeutic out trips—Trips into the community are another form of TR. For example, patients accompanied by therapists may visit Dunkin’ Donuts, the grocery store or their favorite pizza parlor. The primary focus of these recreational trips is to integrate a patient back into the community at a high level of independence to create a true sense of the environment once discharged home. These trips benefit patients as they are involved in the planning and become aware of accessibility/potential architectural barriers. Also, this helps them with adjustments they may feel about their body image and helps boost confidence. Finally, trips help with pacing techniques and increases overall physical function.
- Woodworking and crafting—These activities provide an opportunity to practice fine motor coordination, increase strength and endurance and work on problem solving and following directions. Education on adapted tools and techniques is also offered by therapists.
- Northeast Passage Adapted Recreation Clinic—Patients are given the opportunity to participate in a monthly adaptive recreation session where they are introduced to specially modified equipment that lets them return to playing their favorite sports. Northeast Passage has equipment for over 20 different activities ranging from fishing to basketball to skiing. Each session is individually tailored to a small group of patients who share similar interests. The patients, with the help of their therapists, are able to actually try out the equipment during the session. At the conclusion of the session, the patients are given further resources for pursuing their recreational interests once they are discharged.
- Chair yoga – Chair yoga is a dynamic approach to individuals with a variety of movement impairments who may not otherwise be able access the healing benefits of yoga. Chair yoga offers a safe and controlled approach to increased wellness and therapeutic participation resulting in improved movement patterns, increased sitting/standing posture, transfer training, breath awareness and pain management.