Recreational therapy services develop the skills needed to enhance functional independence for community living and to promote a higher quality of life for the individual and their family. Recreational therapy services provide individuals with disabilities mechanisms to prevent declines in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning and as a result reduce the need for health care services.– American Therapeutic Recreation Association
The Recreation Therapy Department at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation offers a wide range of recreation and leisure activities geared to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional and social well-being of our patients. The goal is to enable our patients to return home with greater confidence and independence … and pursue the activities they enjoy most.
In fact, studies show that recreation therapy helps:
- Promote self-management
- Encourage community reintegration
- Develop communication and independent living skills
- Improve organizational and problem-solving skills
- Build self-esteem and family unity
- Contribute to overall health and well-being
- Teach skills for managing environmental barriers
- Improve fine/gross motor skills
- Increase strength and endurance
- Enhance quality of life
During their stay, patients are encouraged to participate in a wide variety of Therapeutic Recreation activities throughout the week and on weekends. Patients and families are encouraged to participate together.
Community Skills Program
The Therapeutic Recreation and Physical Therapy departments provide opportunities for appropriate patients to practice their leisure and functional skills on "community re-integration" trips to local restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, shopping centers, recreation facilities, parks, museums and cultural events. These outings help to reinforce patients' community skills, such as navigating independently or with assistance over uneven terrain, interacting with the public, dealing with the emotions that often accompany the many "firsts" that they will experience and learning how to handle other real world situations.
Cooking groups are held weekly for all patients to participate in during therapy sessions. Patients are to work with real food and create edible dishes. The focus of the groups is to encourage home management techniques, safety awareness and meal preparation using modified equipment as well as other fine and gross motor skills. The groups are held in a practice kitchen environment to help simulate the "at home experience".
Patients can pursue creative art projects both as part of or after therapy sessions. This is a great opportunity for them to express themselves through a variety of mediums, using adaptive tools, strategies and equipment as needed.
Strategies, tools and techniques for meeting the challenges of life ahead are discussed in individual and/or group sessions to help prepare patients and their families for life at home and in the community. A variety of topics are covered, including travel and transportation concerns, hotel and restaurant accommodations, wheelchair/accessibility issues and recreation resources that may be available.
Holidays & Special Events
Throughout the year, the Therapeutic Recreation Department holds celebrations and observances of a wide range of secular and religious holidays, including, for example, New Year's, Independence Day and Thanksgiving; Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa; and Halloween. Parties are typically held for the Super Bowl and similar special events. In addition, local music, dance and other groups frequently visit Kessler to entertain patients, their families and staff.
For patients who have an interest in gardening, we offer several opportunities, both indoors and out, including simple landscaping projects using adaptive tools and equipment as needed.
Leisure Skills Assessment & Counseling
Kessler's Recreation Therapists will work closely with patients to identify past or current interests, as well as to explore new recreational opportunities. Once patients' interests in recreational are identified, we will introduce a range of adaptive equipment that will enable them to try a variety of sports or other leisure activities.
Certified Pet Therapy Dogs visit each of Kessler's campuses regularly with their owners. and bring a special level of warmth and affection to help in the healing process. These highly trained therapy dogs, who represent all breeds, bring a special level of warmth and affection to help in the healing process. If you have any questions or concerns about our Pet Therapy Visitation Program, please contact the Recreation Department.
Patients are introduced to a variety of games that are adapted to a person's interests and level of injury. Board games and cards, videos and other interactive games are all available, including the Nintendo Wii, which is used daily during therapy sessions. This particular gaming system allows patients of all abilities to enjoy competitive play and offers a number of therapeutic benefits, including increases in balance, range of motion and endurance.
Patients may also have the opportunity to attend sporting events, outdoor recreation centers, concerts, plays, circus performances, museums and even trade shows. The primary focus of these recreational trips is to integrate the individual back into the community at a high level of independence to create a true sense of the environment once discharged home.
Religious/Spirituality Services & Chaplain Services
Non-denominational Chaplain Services provide religious and spiritual counseling, prayer, and worship at each Kessler campus. In addition, religious leaders from local churches and synagogues provide services on a regular or as-needed basis for patients and their families. We also welcome personal visits by an individual's own spiritual advisor or clergy. Please speak with a member of the Therapeutic Recreation Department for more information.
Snoezelen is a multi-sensory environment filled with sights, sounds, textures and aromas used to stimulate mind and body. Patients are able to control their environment with the touch of a button or flip of a switch. Other tasks can be incorporated during a session, including gross & fine motor skills, tracking of objects and colors, and even cognitive skills can be included in the session. Snoezelen allows patients who may easily become agitated to relax and feel comfortable which can make his or her treatment time more effective.
Kessler's Recreation Therapy team seeks to introduce patients and their families to a wide range of adaptive sports, including wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, hand cycling, softball, golf, power soccer and quad rugby — to name a few. Patients have the opportunity to trial adapted sporting equipment during therapy sessions while working toward rehabilitation goals.