What is a Recreation Therapist?
A recreation therapist is a person specifically trained in using play and recreation opportunities as a way to improve the hospital experience and quality of life for infants, children and adolescents.
Recreation Therapists use activity participation to help patients:
- Cope with anxiety and stress related to hospitalization
- Encourage decision making, control and choices
- Decrease isolation through bedside activities
- Facilitate self expression
- Increase or maintain developmental skills
- Increase social skills and peer interaction
- Learn adaptive techniques during recreation
- Improve strength, endurance and activity level
- Increase functional play and leisure skills
- Explore and learn new leisure skills
- Increase knowledge of community accessibility and resources
- Increase functional skills in the community setting
Recreation Therapists work to maximize patients’ cognitive, motor, social and emotional skills through both individual and group activities.
As a member of the treatment team, recreation therapists are trained to use activities that are based on the needs and interests of the patient to develop and implement treatment plans. Recreation therapy sessions can take place at the bedside, in the playroom, teen room, clinic areas, or outside.
A recreation therapist is trained at the bachelor or master’s level in therapeutic recreation. They have also completed a 560 hour internship and passed a national certification examination.
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