Recreation Therapy

About Recreation Therapy

Recreation therapy professionals strive to improve the quality of life for Clinical Center patients and participate in biomedical research by working collaboratively with NIH staff and other professionals. The team provides clinical services to assess the impact of disease on patients' functional independence and works with patients to lessen or prevent disability. Recreation therapy services are offered through pediatric and adult programs.

Adult and Pediatric Programs

Recreation therapy provides programs that assist adult patients in adjusting to their disease, treatment and hospitalization. These programs include individualized treatment services that contribute to restoring, remediating and rehabilitating symptoms associated with illness and medical treatment. Based on identified needs, recreation therapy interventions help patients and their families cope with social, emotional, cognitive, and physical concerns.

Pediatric programs respond to the unique needs of children and adolescents. As part of the multidisciplinary team, recreation therapists work with inpatients or outpatients in the physical, cognitive, social and emotional domains. These programs, and the environment in which they are offered, promote developmentally appropriate play and recreation. They foster a sense of normalcy, understanding and control. Specialized services such as medical play also may be provided.

On the patient care units, recreation therapists work with patients individually or in groups. Patients with symptoms such as boredom, or depression from isolation or anxiety, may benefit from the interventions of the unit recreation therapist. Arts and crafts, games, leisure counseling, relaxation training, and animal-assisted therapy are examples of interventions based on the patient's individual needs or health status.