February is Therapeutic Recreation Month

UI Hospitals and Clinics proudly employs seven certified recreation therapists to enhance the patient’s well-being and hospital stay. Certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS) are educated through highly accredited universities, have received their bachelor’s degree or higher, and are certified through the National Council Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

Robyn Eisenbach, certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS)

Recreation therapy services are used throughout the hospital, from our five inpatient behavioral health units, the IMPACT program, the Psychiatric Partial Hospital Programs, to adult general hospital areas such as antepartum and adult leukemia/bone marrow transplant units.

“Recreational therapy, also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being.”

—American Therapeutic Recreation Association

The recreation therapists are a part of the multidisciplinary treatment team and work to assess the needs of each patient.

Kirk Neustrom, CTRS, and Jon Mitchell, MA, CTRS

The overall goal of a CTRS is to promote health and wellness while a patient is hospitalized, as well as utilizing leisure activities that are adapted and modified to ensure an inclusive environment for full participation. A few interventions used are:

  • Aquatic therapy
  • Exercise education
  • Weight lifting
  • Socialization games
  • Skill building
  • Stress management
  • Cooking
  • Crafts

All interventions meet the patient at their level of functioning to facilitate leisure that is appropriate for those with physical, emotional, mental, and emotional limitations.

Our certified therapeutic recreation specialists provide valuable services to behavioral health patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia, dementia, major depressive disorder, bi-polar, autism, eating disorder, and substance use disorder. General hospital patients assisted include those with cancer, pregnancy complications, and prolonged hospitalization circumstances.

Groups offered are varied and always changing, and UI Hospitals and Clinics has the privilege of many resources to use daily. Patients enjoy the Activities Therapies gym, outdoor patio, kitchen, game room, Rooftop Café, Medical Museum, Patient’s Library, and even an occasional trip to the Java House.

As a CTRS, goals for each patient served are:

  • To provide opportunities for socialization
  • To address skills such as coping strategies, stress management, self-esteem, self-expression, and self-awareness
  • To provide interventions while hospitalized to assist in developing a structured schedule
  • To provide patients with a safe place to express themselves while working through difficult situations
  • To enhance a patient’s leisure repertoire to assist in adding leisure into their everyday lifestyle upon discharge

If you feel that you, a loved one, or patient that you work with would benefit from the services the team can offer, visit uihc.org/recreation-therapy.