Recovery Through Recreation and Leisure

Recovery Through Recreation and Leisure

By: Christina Randle-Webster-BS,CTRS,CBIS

Recovery Through Recreation and Leisure

Recovery Through Recreation and Leisure 920 492 Health Services Los Angeles County

February is celebrated as National Therapeutic Recreation Month. The month is a platform to raise awareness on the positive impact of recreation therapy (RT) programs and services. RT plays a pivotal role that focuses on improving overall health and well-being. Recreation Therapists play a valuable role in promoting wellness through leisure for individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional and social limitations as well as illness and disabling conditions. The services provided ensure that patients maintain or improve life skills, which will allow them to reach their full potential of independence. Throughout Health Services, we have Recreation Therapists working in a variety of care settings.

Olive View-UCLA Medical Center’s RT Department provides behavioral health programs to patients that build life resiliency skills and improve health outcomes. The primary service areas include psychiatric emergency, crisis stabilization, jail diversion, community re-entry and infectious disease units. These programs focus on psychosocial and psychoeducational interventions that increase mental stabilization and healthy lifestyles for patients and their respective communities.

LA General Medical Center’s RT Department provides services in the Psychiatric Emergency units for Adults and Children and the Inpatient Adult/Adolescent and Adult Outpatient Psychiatric Clinics. These programs provide individual treatment plans to assess each patient’s level of functioning to assist with life skills management and coping skills for dual-diagnosis, chronically mentally ill patients, homeless populations as well as adolescents dealing with behavioral, emotional and mental illness. Therapists cover a variety of programs including recovery-based programs, social and leisure skills development and education, meditation, values clarification, conflict resolution and community re-entry.

Therapists at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (RLANRC) pride themselves on employing treatment modalities that enhance the individual’s self–esteem and physical functioning to facilitate continued growth in the rehabilitation process and assist with the development of self-advocacy skills. Program planning is centered around specific patient goals and outcomes. The program mission is to provide an opportunity for our patient population to engage in a variety of activities such as special hospital-wide events, animal assisted therapy, aquatic therapy, adaptive outdoor adventure, fine arts programming, wellness, wheelchair sports, sailing, aromatherapy, guided imagery, therapeutic horseback riding, virtual reality gaming and facilitation of support groups to name a few. All these activities promote increased functioning and improved quality of life.

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s RT provide therapeutic interventions for adult and adolescent patients. Programs such as yoga and relaxation techniques, outdoor activities, music groups, cooking groups, daily exercise and cinemetherapy ensure that patients use leisure to gain pertinent life skills and coping strategies. The overall goal is to promote a positive leisure lifestyle to assist in maintaining a stable and healthy life outside of the hospital.

RT is an important component of quality patient care and RT’s countless contributions give our patients the skills to find meaning and purpose in their lives.  Recreation Therapists were featured in a podcast that talks more about Recreation Therapy.  It can be found here:

Contact Christina Randle-Webster at: with any questions.  Information can also be found here: Recreation Therapy Services