By  Sherri Nelson,  Practice Leader, Recreation Therapy

Have you ever wondered what Recreation Therapy does or what impact they have on client outcomes?

As Practice Leader for Recreation Therapy, I want to take this opportunity to highlight some potential benefits of including Recreation Therapy as part of a client’s comprehensive treatment plan.

Recreation Therapy involves using the power of activities and sportsto support the rehabilitation process and promote healthy living throughout a person's life.

Recreation Therapy uses the power of activities and sports to support the rehabilitation process and promote healthy living throughout a person’s life.

Recreation Therapists and Recreation Coordinators work collaboratively within Saskatoon Health Region health service teams, across diverse delivery settings and follow established Standards of Practice. The role and function of these practitioners are as diverse as the settings they work in.  Service areas include Community Older Adult, Mental Health and Addiction Services (Youth, Adult), RUH Acute Care Pediatrics, Parkridge Centre, SCH Rehabilitation Centre, SCH Geriatric Evaluation and Management Program, SCH Transitional Care Unit, SCH Convalescent Unit and the Acquired Brain Injury Outreach Team.

This display was up in the atrium at Saskatoon City Hospital Feb. 1 – 5/15, promoting the profession of Recreation Therapy..

This display was up in the atrium at Saskatoon City Hospital Feb. 1 – 5/15, promoting the profession of Recreation Therapy.

The unique feature of our profession is in the purposeful use of recreation activities as goal-directed interventions to affect change. Recreation Therapy uses recreation and leisure to help maximize an individual’s independence and make necessary adaptations to allow for full participation.  The individual’s interests are incorporated into therapy, which makes the process meaningful and relevant for them. An example of a goal-directed intervention would be using a favorite card game with a client who has experienced a stroke, to work on improving the strength and fine motor coordination in their affected hand and arm, along with improving their ability to focus, concentrate, turn-take, interact socially and plan strategy for the game.

Depending on the client population, other Recreation Therapy interventions may focus on creating a leisure identity, improving fitness, helping to foster greater involvement in their community, strengthening interpersonal skills and relationships, improving coping and adaptation skills and helping individuals realize the benefits of a healthy leisure lifestyle.

Recreation Therapy is so much more than fun and games, because it uses the power of recreation activities to support the rehabilitation process and promote healthy living throughout the lifespan. Some common methods include leisure education, aquatic therapy, older adult fitness classes, medical play, adapted sport, creative pursuits, social skill development, stress management and relaxation, reminiscence, sensory stimulation and community reintegration.  With the chosen method, Recreation Therapy practitioners strive for excellence in service delivery with provision of quality treatment services and health promotion services that are client centred and evidence based.

February is Recreation Therapy month. Please take the opportunity to acknowledge Recreation Therapy staff working in your areas.

Contact Sherri Nelson, Practice Leader, Recreation Therapy at 306-655-1071 or sherri.nelson@saskatoonhealthregion.ca with any questions about the profession.