Since 1984, the second week of July has been observed as National Therapeutic Recreation Week by the National Therapeutic Recreation Society. In 2017, National Therapeutic Recreation Week will be celebrated from July 9-15.
About Therapeutic Recreation
Therapeutic recreation, often called recreation therapy, plays an important role in improving the health and well-being of children, teens, and adults who suffer from physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, substance abuse programs, and psychiatric facilities all commonly offer therapeutic recreation as part of their services.
Recreation therapy refers to any guided use of recreation activities by trained and certified professionals. In addition to certification, qualified recreation therapists must have a bachelor's degree with an academic background in psychology, human growth and development, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and the specific disabling conditions of the populations they serve. Most have also completed a supervised internship before being allowed to work with patients on a one-on-one basis.
Recreational therapists plan activities for patients based on their past and current interests, as well as their abilities and lifestyle. Some popular options include:
- Adapted sports
- Arts and crafts
- Cooking or baking
- Working with animals
- Meditation or yoga
- Community outings
Therapeutic recreation is designed to support the whole person, building the mind, body, and spirit. This type of therapy is considered very helpful for those recovering from slip and fall accidents, car accidents, and certain back and neck injuries. The goals of recreation therapy are based on the specific challenges the patient faces, but might include:
- Reducing stress
- Alleviating depression
- Helping provide coping mechanisms for anxiety
- Recovering basic motor functioning
- Improving cognitive reasoning skills
- Building confidence
- Providing opportunities to socialize
Recreation therapists document and analyze a patient's progress, creating reports that can be shared with other members of the treatment team. They regularly meet with physicians or surgeons, registered nurses, social workers, and psychologists to refine the treatment plan as needed.
Receiving Recreation Therapy After a Car Accident
When someone has suffered severe injuries in a car accident, therapeutic recreation can be used as part of the overall rehabilitation plan. Examples of ways in which recreation therapy may be helpful include:
- Therapeutic horseback riding or wheelchair spots for someone with partial paralysis
- Music and art therapy for some with cognitive deficits related to a TBI
- Meditation and yoga to help with accident-related PTSD, stress, and anxiety
- Social outings to boost confidence for a patient who has visible facial scarring or burns
Recreational therapy can be used in combination with occupational therapy, physical therapy, or speech therapy. However, recreation therapy can also be a stand-alone treatment that provides benefits when other options haven't resulted in sufficient progress. For example, injured children may prefer going to recreation therapy because the activities seem more fun and enjoyable than other types of treatments.
Recreation therapy is covered by many insurance plans. However, when a patient's injuries are caused by another person's negligence, the cost of recreation therapy services can be included in a personal injury claim. Personal injury law allows for reimbursement of past medical costs, as well as anticipated future medical expenses when the injured person has been left permanently disabled.
In a personal injury case, a recreation therapist can provide expert witness testimony to document the extent and severity of the accident-related injuries. This can help ensure that the victim receives the maximum possible compensation.
Protecting Your Legal Rights
Louisiana law allows you one year to file a personal injury claim if you suffered injuries in a car accident. You are still eligible to file a claim against the at-fault driver even if you were determined to be partially at fault for the accident. However, your settlement will be reduced by your assigned percentage of fault.
Personal injury law can be quite complex, which is why it's important to have an attorney who will advocate for your interests throughout the process. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault’s experienced legal team is dedicated to assisting Louisiana residents in resolving their personal injury claims in a timely manner. Please contact us online or call us directly at 318.588.6303 to schedule a free, no-obligation case review at one of our six convenient office locations throughout the state.