Helping patients, residents and clients achieve quality of life and optimal health through meaningful experiences in recreation and leisure is the mandate of the Recreation Therapists who work at the Almonte General Hospital (AGH) and Fairview Manor (FVM).
“Our Recreation Therapists provide services in the AGH Day Hospital and Rosamond Unit and at Fairview Manor,” says AGH Day Hospital and Occupational Therapy Director Peggy Wallace.
“Their role is to assess the client, patient or resident with a focus on recreation, so they can develop ways to help enhance the individual’s quality of life.”
Therapeutic recreation is a vital link within AGH-FVM’s multidisciplinary team approach to care.
“This approach supports patients, residents, and clients to acquire and/or maintain the skills, knowledge, and behaviours that will allow them to enjoy their leisure optimally and function as independently as possible,” says FVM Assistant Director of Care Mary-Ellen Harris.
“Recreation therapists also contribute to the development of treatment/care plans.” For example, the Recreation Therapist at the Day Hospital, assisting a client recovering from a stroke, would learn about the person’s interests, abilities and lifestyle. If the client had lost function in their right hand, recreation therapy in the form of drawing or crafts could assist in the recovery of function in the hand, or help the person adapt to the loss of function by developing new ways to enjoy the activity.
In addition to addressing physical needs through exercise, recreation therapy also addresses a person’s intellectual, social, spiritual and emotional needs.
“Recreation Therapists help stimulate mental skills, such as memory and concentration, through games and other activities,” explains Ms. Wallace.
“Events such as birthday parties and musical entertainment help meet social needs.”
To meet spiritual needs, Recreation Therapists arrange for church services and pastoral visits. They also help address emotional needs, such as a lack of self-esteem, through activities that build confidence.
“In addition to direct interaction with clients, patients and residents, our Recreation Therapists plan and organize many programs, parties, games and musical events,” says Ms. Wallace. “It takes a great deal of time and skill to plan these activities and pull them together.”
Fairview Manor’s full-time Recreation Therapist is Sheila Lefebvre. The four part-time FVM Recreation Therapists are Tammy Lowry, Kelly Bowles, Ashley Charlebois and Julie Rice. The Hospital’s full-time Recreation Therapist is Anne McRae.