What is Recreation Therapy? - VA Palo Alto Health Care System
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VA Palo Alto Health Care System


What is Recreation Therapy?

In 1945, the VA established the first "Recreation Service". The term "Recreation Therapy" was introduced in the 1950s with the inclusion of Recreation Therapy as an evidence-based treatment approach. The formative years of Recreation Therapy have seen the development of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral education programs as well as the establishment of professional organizations.

Recreation Therapy is viewed as a means toward recovery. As stated by Caroline Wyman, Chief, Recreation Therapy Service at VAPAHCS, "Recreation and Creative Arts Therapists provide non-traditional and innovative modalities that assist Veterans in reaching their treatment goals and obtaining improved health and quality of life.

The Recreation Therapy Service here at VAPAHCS makes it a priority to provide exceptional care that is Veteran and family-driven as well as clinically outcome-oriented. We are able to serve the most complex Veterans, and are collaborative in our approach and focused in the delivery of customer service."

Services Offered

  • Assessment of leisure functioning
  • Developing programs based on assessed need
  • Implementation and evaluation of programs
  • Discharge planning
  • Community reintegration outings
  • Public transportation education and utilization
  • Community resource development
  • Adaptive recreation participation
  • Evaluation of adaptive equipment
  • Stress management
  • Relapse prevention
  • Coping techniques
  • Holiday and special events programming
  • Leisure education with Veterans and their families
  • Fitness and wellness programs