Recreation Therapy

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center

Recreation Therapy

Recreation Therapy utilizes various leisure modalities as a form of treatment to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning-of individuals with disabilities or illnesses.  In addition, recreation therapists employ treatment modalities which enhances the sense of well-being, facilitates continued involvement in the rehabilitation process, establishes new life goals for continued growth and assists with the development of self-advocacy.


The mission of Recreation Therapy is to provide services in a culturally sensitive manner with focus on utilizing the individual patient’s existing skills and leisure interests as functional modalities to achieve patient-centered goals and outcomes.  The services are designed to focus on pre-morbid leisure interests, as well as on facilitating the development of newly learned skills for daily living and community functioning.  Recreation Therapy collaborates with the interdisciplinary team to address the whole person with the focus on enhancing independent functioning within physical, emotional, social, and cognitive domains in order to meet the patient’s overall rehabilitation goals.  The department believes that Recreation Therapy is a profession that promotes wellness and improves the quality of life through leisure.


The vision of the Recreation Therapy staff is to offer a model program that is an effective patient-centered provider of Therapeutic Recreation services in a rehabilitation/medical setting.  Recreation Therapy is to be an integral and well-respected member of the interdisciplinary team, providing unique and needed services, which create positive outcomes and improve the patient’s leisure functioning and overall quality of life.

Recreation Therapy Programs Offered at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (Rancho):

  • Adolescent Support Group – Provides opportunities for adolescents to transition from inpatient to outpatient and a way to meet new people while being provided with emotional support from staff.
  • Animal Assisted Therapy – A treatment using interaction with animals to promote positive and beneficial changes in the patient’s emotional, social, and physical well-being.
  • Aquatic Therapy – A valuable treatment modality, which provides an alternative medium for therapeutic exercise and endurance, range of motion, ambulation, and dynamic standing activities.
  • Community Reintegration – Provides a safe opportunity for patients to apply skills learned in therapy into a community based setting. Safety awareness, problem solving, money management, community mobility, social skills and community resource awareness for overall executive skill functioning are essential to the therapeutic process.
  • Don Knabe Pediatric Arts Program – The program consists of training in fine arts and graphic arts for participants, all of whom experienced a disabling injury or illness as a child or a young adult.
  • Adult Fine Arts Program – Offers professional instructor led courses focused on the development and appreciation of the fine arts and introduces participants to a variety of mediums, techniques and concepts. The clinical expertise of recreation therapy is incorporated to offer assistance with adaptive techniques to achieve goals.
  • Leisure Skills Development – Our therapists are highly skilled in developing individual and group patient centered programming and treatment goals. Treatment plans are designed to target specific impairments for overall enhanced functional outcomes.
  • Adaptive Outdoor Adventure Program – Provides opportunities for participants to engage in a variety of activities to enhance leisure exploration, continued involvement in the rehabilitation process, overall quality of life, and the ability to establish new life goals for continued growth.
  • Relaxation/Guided Imagery/Aroma Therapy – Incorporates various techniques for an overall increase in relaxation and pain management. The program focuses on educating patients in alternative methods to manage stress/pain.
  • Sailing – A seasonal program designed to educate and facilitate basic sailing skills and expose people with disabilities to outdoor recreation options.
  • Therapeutic Horseback Riding – In addition to increasing balance, strength, and endurance, this program teaches basic horseback riding skills and other related assisted activities such as grooming, feeding, and handling in a safe therapeutic environment.
  • Gardening- An innovative treatment modality using plants and flowers to improve sensory skills, fine/gross motor skills and promotes leisure pursuits.

Our Services:

  • Inpatient Rehabilitation
    • Adult Brain Injury
    • Pediatrics/Adolescents
    • Spinal Cord Injury
    • Stroke
  • Ortho Diabetes/Acute Stroke
  • Pressure Ulcer Management
  • Adaptive Outdoor Adventure Program
  • Wellness Center

Meet the Staff:

Meet the staff Recreation Therapy