M, W, F
8:00am to 5:00pm
Recreation therapists employ leisure activities to help patients with disabilities or illnesses. Through the use of games, sports, crafts and more, they maintain their patients’ physical and emotional well-being. In doing this, they also help patients integrate into their community via group activities. Recreation therapists might work in hospitals or other medical institutions, their community’s parks and recreation department or specialized school programs.
To assess patient needs, recreational therapists consider medical records, personal observation and talks with the patient and his or her loved ones. They then execute a therapeutic program targeted toward what that patient requires most. This can entail a variety of activities, so therapists need to keep current on communal and therapeutic resources available to best help their patients. Therapists also document a patient’s progress during their activities.
A therapist’s specific duties vary based on his or her place of employment. For instance, therapists who work in schools might focus on their patients’ communal integration as they move into adult life. Those employed by hospitals might target their work on helping patients rehabilitate after an injury or illness. Therapists in community recreation departments might concentrate more on developing programs to help their town’s residents.
Most recreation therapist jobs require a bachelor’s degree in therapeutic recreation. These are typically Bachelor of Science programs that teach students to both understand their patients’ conditions and engage those patients physically and mentally to keep them refreshed. The programs often include a significant amount of field work so students can gain hands-on experience for their future career. As an alternative to a therapeutic recreation study, some schools offer a bachelor’s degree in recreation with a therapeutic concentration.
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