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inTeRlink

Therapeutic Recreation News & Articles- 2003
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News Archives

"inTeRlink" is an on-line therapeutic recreation newsletter featuring links to articles on & related to recreation therapy and therapeutic recreation on the Internet. Send news items and links to Charlie Dixon at charlie * recreationtherapy.com (change * to @ before emailing).

Date shown on each article reflect the date link/item was added to this page and not necessary the date the article was written. It is quite possible that linked articles are no longer available.


NEWS RELEASE
December 18, 2003

Contact: Ann D Huston MPA, CTRS
Phone: (703) 683-9420

ATRA Releases Annual in Therapeutic Recreation Volume 12

(Alexandria, VA) The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is pleased to announce the release of ATRA's Annual in Therapeutic Recreation Volume 12, Edited by Jeffrey P. Witman, Ed.D., CTRS of York College, York, PA. Volume 12, includes research-based and program-oriented articles including: A Therapeutic Recreation Intervention Using Animal-Assisted Therapy: Effects on the Subjective Well-Being of Older Adults, The Effect of Aquatic Therapy Interventions on Patients with Depression: A Comparison Study, Survey of the Educational Needs of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists in Western Pennsylvania, Systematic Reviews Part I: How to Conduct Systematic Review for Evidence-Based Practice and Systematic Reviews Part II: How to Appraise Systematic Reviews for Evidence-Based Practice. The journal also contains the ATRA Continuing Education Correspondence Program for continuing education units. Contributing Authors include many prominent researchers in the therapeutic recreation field, including; Nancy E. Richeson, William T. McCullough, Becky Berline, Douglas E. Moul, James P. LePage, Neil L. Mogge, David G. Sellers, Jr., Colleen A. Cooke, and Norma J. Stumbo.

The Annual in Therapeutic Recreation was created to provide current and relevant empirical research findings to advance the practice of recreational therapy in various health care and human service settings. According to Melinda Conway Callahan, President of ATRA, "Building a base of knowledge is the foundation of our professional association. Providing journals and publications continues to strengthen our professional practice and provides necessary data and information to provide improved services for the clients we serve."

The latest volume of The American Therapeutic Recreation Association’s Annual in Therapeutic Recreation is available for purchase through the association’s online bookstore, http://www.atra-tr.org/bookstore.htm and is available on-line, complimentary for ATRA members.

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

 

NEWS RELEASE
November 21, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston MPA, CTRS
Phone: (703) 683-9420

ATRA Announces first group of Candidates selected for Prestigious Leadership ATRA Program

(ALEXANDRIA, VA) – The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is pleased to announce the first group of candidates selected for the prestigious inaugural class of Leadership ATRA. ATRA Past President GT Thompson spearheaded the creation of this exciting new program, with the goal of “Developing Leadership for A Promising Future”. According to Thompson, The LEADERSHIP ATRA experience has an immediate, positive effect on the participants and their Therapeutic Recreation practice. Each person is better informed and more skilled in active organizational leadership. The real value of the program is evidenced, as graduates become leaders in positions of responsibility in the American Therapeutic Recreation Association and the medical community at large.

In recognition of the need to develop leaders for the future who have a clear understanding of the therapeutic recreation profession and are committed to its advancement, ATRA announced the nine individuals selected to participate in the inaugural class of Leadership ATRA: Geoff Hopkins of DC, Barbara Parker of FL, Colleen Cooke of PA, David Howard of IN, Cathy Jordan of OK, Holly Talbott of IN, David Rulnick of CT, Stacia Carroll of IO, and Kim Clarke of IN. Applications were reviewed and scored according to demonstrated current and talent and desire to serve the Association through their work with ATRA Chapters, Teams or Treatment Networks.

ATRA LEADERSHIP brings together a mix of existing and emerging leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences and from the American Therapeutic Recreation Association membership. These individuals have demonstrated the talent and desire to serve the Association through their work with ATRA Chapters, Teams or Treatment Networks.

Through active participation once a month, participants engage in teleconference sessions on specific topics including: the Association’s mission, vision and values; history of ATRA; organizational structure; strategic planning; budget and finances; Board of Director responsibilities / operations; professional staff responsibilities / national office operations; communications; governmental relations and advocacy; networks and coalition building; continuous quality improvement processes and emerging issues. Onsite sessions are hosted at the ATRA Mid-Year and Annual Conference, which allow an in-depth exploration of leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills.

Discussions with present Association leaders and experts forms the backbone of the sessions, and helps class members develop an in-depth understanding of the complexities of Association issues. Participants are provided opportunities and are assigned team special projects to enhance their problem solving and communication skills throughout the program. Through this process, valuable knowledge and broader perspectives on a host of issues is gained. The yearlong program culminates in a graduation ceremony that will be held at the Association’s Annual Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

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NEWS RELEASE
November 24, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston, ATRA Executive Director
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Recreational Therapist Chairs the CARF Board of Trustees for 2004

Tucson, Arizona – After serving one year as chair-elect of the 53 member CARF Board of Trustees, ATRA member Joanne Finegan, M.S.A., CTRS, will chair the board for the 2004 term. Finegan joined the CARF board in 1997 as a representative of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association. She is the chief executive officer of ReMed, a post-acute brain injury rehabilitation provider with locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio and headquarters in Conshohocken, Pa.

Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, the accrediting body is now known as CARF. CARF establishes customer-focused standards to help providers measure and improve the quality, value, and outcomes of their services. At present, CARF has accredited more than 3,700 organizations in the United States, Canada, and Sweden in the areas of adult day services, assisted living, behavioral health, employment and community services, and medical rehabilitation. Since 1988, ATRA has maintained sponsoring membership with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF identifies recreational therapy as a key component in many of their standards and services.

ATRA President Melinda Conway Callahan traveled to Tucson for the induction ceremony and affirmed, “We are both excited and proud of this recognition of Joanne's obvious leadership abilities. She has certainly brought a great deal of recognition to our profession through her accomplishments.”

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ATRA Board Seeks Nominations for Year 2004-2005 Leaders

11-4-03 "True leaders are not those who strive to be first but those who are first to strive and who give their all for the success of the team. True leaders are first to see the need, envision the plan, and empower the team for action. By the strength of the leader's commitment, the power of the team is unleashed."

The ATRA Nominations/Elections Team is seeking nominations from members who would be willing to serve on the ATRA Board of Directors. If you have considered being involved in ATRA’s leadership, or you have a colleague who is a qualified candidate, interested and willing to serve, there has never been a better time to get involved in ATRA’s leadership team. If you have served in a leadership capacity at the team, network or chapter level and wish to expand the scope of your professional involvement, please consider running for one of the ATRA positions open during 2004-2005. The positions available include President-Elect, Secretary and Member-At-Large. Board members direct the affairs of the Association, serve as liaisons to committees and also assist with special projects furthering the mission of ATRA. Positions require a two-year commitment and individuals must be willing to attend and participate in board meetings at the Mid-Year/Annual conferences and at the annual budget meeting. Individuals with a Professional membership in the Association are eligible to apply for the President-Elect and Secretary positions and individuals with either a Professional or Associate membership are eligible to apply for the Member-At-Large positions.

To submit a nomination please fill out the form on the ATRA website (http://www.atra-online.com) and submit electronically to gthompson@shscares.org, or print out and mail to: G. T. Thompson, ATRA Nominations/Elections Team, 777 Rural Avenue, Williamsport, PA 17701.

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NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Dawn DeVries, ATRA Conferences Coordinator
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Recreational Therapists Make Plans for High Adventure in the High Desert

(Alexandria, VA) The 2004 Mid-Year Professional Issues Forum of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association will be held March 27-30, 2004, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

New Mexico, known as the ‘Land of Enchantment’ provides unique opportunities for the ATRA conference attendees to be enchanted as well as educated. Albuquerque, known as the Ballooning Capitol of the World, offers the matchless opportunity to experience a real change in attitude and altitude. This year’s theme: “Soaring to New Heights of Greatness” truly reflects not only the celebrated soaring balloons that Albuquerque is famous for, but also the dynamic nature of this conference addressing advocacy and advancements in the therapeutic recreation field. Conference participants from across the country can enjoy the sunny southwest and explore the unique sights and sounds of Albuquerque as they gather for the largest national conference of recreational therapy professionals.

The conference will include three days of educational sessions on areas of specific clinical practice for recreational therapists as well as current healthcare issues and several opportunities to explore new interventions.

ATRA has a strong commitment to Diversity and Albuquerque with its rich history and culture, offers conference participants the opportunity to discover the mystic beauty of numerous ancient Native American Ruins and a variety of rich cultural influences of the southwest.

From the Hot chili peppers that spice the food or decorate the area, to the unparalleled beauty of the high desert, Albuquerque will offer participants a one of a kind chance to ‘re-ignite their fire for recreational therapy’. Make plans to join us for the 2004 Mid-Year Professional Issues Forum of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico March 27-30, 2004!

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NEWS RELEASE
October 8, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston MPA, CTRS
Phone: (703) 683-9420

ATRA Supports Rehab Colleagues in Opposition of Proposed Local Medical Review Policies (LMRP’s)

(Alexandria, VA) The American Therapeutic Recreation Association has joined with several national organizations representing medical rehabilitation hospitals and the professionals who practice in them including the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Hospital Association, American Medical Rehabilitation Providers Association, American Occupational Therapy Association, American Physical Therapy Association, Association of Academic Physiatrists, and the Federation of American Hospitals to express strong views about proposed Local Medical review policies to current CMS Administrator Tom Scully.

ATRA’s Executive Director, Ann Huston explains, Fiscal intermediaries that contract with the Medicare program in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania have promulgated draft local medical review policies (LMRPs) intended to constrain and limit the coverage guidelines set forth under the Medicare Hospital Manual, Pub.10, Coverage of Hospital Services, Section 211, Inpatient Hospital Stays for Rehabilitation Care. This effort is being pursued while CMS is in the midst of a rulemaking process to modify the inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) exclusion criteria for rehabilitation hospitals and units known as the "75% Rule."

Given CMS' ongoing actions to revise the 75% Rule, ATRA and the other organizations consider the timing of this additional LMRP process to be inappropriate and ill advised. Because LMRPs must be consistent with all statutes, rulings, regulations, and may not conflict with CMS National Coverage Decisions or interpretive manuals, ATRA feels the fiscal intermediaries should await CMS guidance before implementing revisions to coverage policies for inpatient rehabilitation stays.

ATRA and their rehabilitation colleagues believe that the draft LMRPs published to date are seriously flawed, and do not represent appropriate interpretations of medical necessity or Medicare's intent to meet the rehabilitation needs of America's seniors. In a letter to Scully, the organizations state, “There are more clinically appropriate and administratively sound methods to define inpatient rehabilitation services and establish reasonable medical coverage guidelines that ensure all patients who truly need medical rehabilitation hospital services will receive them in the future”.

ATRA and other organizations have urged Scully and CMS to require that the intermediaries withdraw their current and planned inpatient rehabilitation LMRPs and discontinue further action in this regard until an independent panel of national clinical experts on inpatient rehabilitative care is convened - preferably under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine - and has fully examined the issues associated with medical necessity. ATRA President Melinda Conway Callahan, CTRS, CFRE states, ”ATRA is pleased to support this position on behalf of the many patients in need of rehabilitation services".

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420 or at www.atra-tr.org .

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NEWS RELEASE
September 18, 2003

Contact: Ann D Huston, ATRA Executive Director
Phone: (703) 683-9420

ATRA Approves New Chair for Research Foundation

Laurie Jake, CTRS, from Phoenix, AZ was recently appointed to head the efforts of the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation. She will be serving as the Chair of the Foundation for the upcoming year. Jake, currently in private practice providing recreational therapy in the Phoenix area, has been actively involved with the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation for several years and served as Vice Chair from 2002-2003. Glen, ‘GT’ Thompson, from Williamsburg, PA will be serving as the new Vice-Chair. Jake and Thompson worked together previously, both having served as past presidents of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association.

The American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation (ATRF) is dedicated to advancing the field of therapeutic recreation and improving the quality of therapeutic recreation services through the sponsorship of efficacy research grants. Past grants have studied a variety of areas including the effectiveness of aquatic therapy and using recreational therapy interventions for preventing falls among elderly clients. This past year the foundation provided funds for two new research grants (“Air mat therapy for the treatment of agitated wandering and aggression" and "The Effectiveness of a Recreational Modality (Tai Chi Chuan) in Enhancing Health Status and Reducing Health Care Costs in an Elderly Population.")

The American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation is a non-profit foundation established in 1992 by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA). The founding principles of the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation are to develop and promote opportunities for education and research. Priority consideration is given to efficacy research projects related to topics that provide evidence as to the effectiveness of recreation therapy interventions, and that examine outcomes and cost effectiveness of recreation therapy protocols.

Gifts to the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation support the advancement of the recreational therapy profession. For more information, contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420

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NEWS RELEASE
September 17, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston, ATRA Executive Director
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Congratulations to the 2003 ATRA Awards Winners
The Annual ATRA Awards program is a way to recognize many of the individuals who have worked diligently to advance the profession of therapeutic recreation. ATRA would like to congratulate the following individuals who were recognized at the Awards ceremony in Atlanta Georgia during the ATRA Annual conference. The ATRA Distinguished Fellow Award for 2003 was presented to Dr. Marcia Jean Carter. This is the highest award granted by ATRA. The Outstanding Professional Award was presented to Dr. Deborah Hutchins for her outstanding work in the area of clinical competency and her lengthy history of leadership and service to ATRA. The Frank N. Brasile Clinician of the Year Award was presented to Sienna Boothman, along with a monetary award by the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation (ATRF) for creative and innovative programming in long term care. The Member of the Year Award was presented to Nancy Richeson for significant efforts in the leadership of the gerontology treatment network and the ATRA Long Term Care CQI team. The Scholarly Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Frank Brasile to recognize scholarly contributions to the field of therapeutic recreation, specifically in the areas of sport and disability. The Individual Citation was presented to Mr. Tom Hoyer for continued support for ATRA and the field of therapeutic recreation during his longstanding position within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaide Services (CMS). The Organization or Institution Award was presented to Brookcrest Sunset association of Michigan, for their efforts in supporting and promoting therapeutic recreation. The Excellence in Education Award was presented to East Carolina University. ATRA Certificates of Recognition were presented to Kelly Parker, Louis Long, and Dionne Beaman. Presidential awards were given to Suzanne Fitzsimmons, Ressie Hardy, Laurie Jake, Sharon Nichols, Kathy Murphy & Tim Passmore. The ATRA Chapter of the Year was presented to Pacific North West Therapeutic Recreation Association.

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NEWS RELEASE
August 12, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston, ATRA Executive Director
Phone: (703) 683-9420

ATRA Dementia Practice Directory

In continuing efforts to advance the care of individuals with Dementia, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is pleased to announce the first ever Dementia Practice Directory for recreational therapists. ATRA has posted to its website a comprehensive listing of recreational therapists who have successfully completed ATRA’s approved training workshop and competency based testing for ATRA’s Dementia Practice Guideline for Recreational Therapy (written by Linda Buettner and Suzanne Fitzsimmons). The individuals listed on this Directory have demonstrated competencies in using Recreational Therapy as an intervention for addressing disturbing behaviors in persons with dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.

Since ATRA released the highly anticipated Dementia Practice Guidelines there has been a great interest among many in the healthcare field. ATRA’s national office has received numerous phone calls looking for individual’s trained in the new Dementia Practice Guidelines. This directory will enable both members of the public as well as the medical community to easily locate recreational therapists qualified to implement the DPG.

The need for this program is great. According to the Alzheimer's Association approximately 4 million Americans currently have some form of Dementia.

The Dementia Practice Guideline is intended for recreational therapists working with older adults with dementia in all care settings. ATRA President Glenn Thompson explains, “ATRA's Dementia Practice Guidelines represent an exciting advancement in the management of dementia and in the quality of life for a person living with dementia”.

The directory can be found at http://www.atra-tr.org/dementiapracticedirectory.htm

For more information, please contact Laurie Jake, CTRS, ATRA Communications Coordinator at (480) 460-1525 or the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

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NEWS RELEASE
August 1, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston MPA, CTRS
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Medicare and Recreational Therapy

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is excited to announce the successful achievement of another milestone recognition within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Association President Glenn Thompson expressed appreciation to CMS for the clarification issued on August 1st in the Federal Register.

The Department of Health and Human Services released in the Federal Register "Changes to the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System and FY 2004 Rates". In this Federal Register announcement, CMS clarified that recreational therapy services provided within an inpatient rehabilitation facility are a covered service therefore should be provided when medically indicated. The announcement clarifies ATRA's long-standing position that recreational therapy services are a covered service, when provided under the supervision of a physician and meets the definitions of active treatment. According to ATRA President Thompson “This clarification by CMS will assure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to the full mix of cost-effective rehabilitation interventions including Recreational Therapy.”

CMS stated “"Neither the implementation of the prospective payment system nor the criteria for excluding certain hospitals and units from it will prohibit the provision of recreational therapy services to hospital inpatients.” CMS further clarified, “ Since the publication of the January 3, 1984 final rule, we have not made any changes to our policies that would preclude recreational therapy services from those covered by Medicare. In particular the introduction of the IRF PPS does not change this fact. Accordingly, since recreational therapy services were provided in the IRF base period, the costs of providing these covered services are included in standardized payment amount upon which the IRF PPS rates are based.”

This is a huge victory for ATRA and most importantly to the clients that will be assured greater access to recreational therapy services in an inpatient rehabilitation setting. According to ATRA’s Executive director, Ann Huston, “This is the first of many successes to come.”

The direct link to the CMS website IRF-PPS Final Rule is available at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/PROVIDERS/IRFPPS/. For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420 or at www.atra-tr.org .

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NEWS RELEASE
June 25, 2003

Recreational Therapist Achieves Fellowship with the Gerontological Society of America

(Alexandria, VA) Linda L. Buettner, PhD., CTRS, was recently elected as a Fellow for the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). She now holds the initials FGSA after her name and will be formally inducted at the Society’s conference in San Diego this fall. GSA is a highly respected academic professional organization providing information, advocacy, and support for research into the study of aging.

Fellowship is recognition by peers in GSA for outstanding contributions to the field of gerontology. This recognition is for diverse activities that include research, teaching, administration, public service, practice and notable participation in the Society. The GSA Council confers this status. The individual must have been engaged in recognized work related to gerontology for at least five years prior to application such as research, teaching, administration, public or professional service. The individual must have substantially demonstrated an active interest and responsibility in gerontology as shown by publications or presentations at scientific or professional meetings, or public leadership in one of the fields recognized as pertaining to gerontology. This is the first time a Recreational Therapist has received this honor.

Dr. Buettner, a current ATRA Board member-at-large, and one of the primary authors for the new ATRA Dementia Practice Guidelines, has been involved with a variety of new and innovative research projects, and was honored in the past with the Investigator Initiated Award from the National Alzheimer’s Association, as well as receiving the Scholarly Achievement Award from ATRA

The National Alzheimer's Association is currently funding recreation therapy research proposed by Dr. Buettner using biofeedback to measure outcomes in people with advanced stage dementia, "Therapeutic recreation interventions for need-driven dementia-compromised behaviors in persons with dementia". Linda Buettner, CTRS, PhD and her colleague Sue Fitzsimmons, MS, RN, GNP have worked together on many research projects, co-presented at national, regional and local conferences and have done consulting to long term care facilities. Dr Buettner is well recognized by her colleagues for her work, having been a past recipient of the ATRA Scholarly Achievement Award. ATRA is extremely proud to have Dr. Buettner as an active member of the leadership team.

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NEWS RELEASE
May 27, 2003

ATRA Documents Included in Healthcare Standards Database

(Alexandria, VA) The American Therapeutic Recreation Association and its official documents have been included in the 2004 edition of the Healthcare Standards Directory. ECRI, a nonprofit health services research agency, is a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization (WHO) and serves as the official WHO Healthcare Standards and Guidelines Archives. Now in its 14th year, the Healthcare Standards Directory includes a comprehensive list of published standards, guidelines, recommendations, position papers, policy statements, technology assessments and other authoritative documents.

Included in the database will be the ATRA Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning (1997), Guidelines for Internships in Therapeutic Recreation (1998), and Standards for the Practice of Therapeutic Recreation and Self-Assessment Guide (revised 2000). Also submitted for inclusion in the new database are the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Dementia Practice Guidelines for Treating Disturbing Behaviors, an evidence-based national practice guideline for recreational therapy. The ATRA documents included in the database represent ATRA’s commitment to advancing the practice of recreational therapy.

The ATRA Standards for the Practice of Therapeutic Recreation and Self-Assessment Guide (SOP-SAG) were developed to reflect current practice and ensure compliance with other industry standards like CARF, JCAHO, and CMS. The ATRA standards of practice are not specific to any treatment setting or location. They are universal standards that relate to the practice of Therapeutic recreation regardless of the type of client, agency or facility where someone provides TR services.

ATRA’s Guidelines for Internships in Therapeutic Recreation provide important information for not only the students in the therapeutic recreation field, but also provide important tools for clinical supervisors and academic faculty who supervise field placements.

Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning in Therapeutic Recreation: A Tool for Self Evaluation developed and written by the ATRA Higher Education Task Force (Terry Kinney, Ph.D., CTRS & Jeff Witman, Ed.D, CTRS, Chairs) provides much needed direction on professional competencies for recreational therapists.

ATRA is pleased to be the leader in providing standards for the Therapeutic Recreation Profession recognized by the World Health Organization. Each of these documents are available for purchase through the association’s online bookstore, http://www.atra-tr.org/bookstore.htm. According to ATRA President GT Thompson, “"The listing of ATRA Standards Resources in the 2004 edition of the Healthcare Standards Directory is a significant service for consumers and practitioners of Recreational Therapy. Inclusion in this data base should serve to increase the utilization of these important standards."

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NEWS RELEASE
May 9, 2003

ATRA Supports Christopher Reeve Paralysis Legislation

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is excited to offer our organization’s support for the “Christopher Reeve Paralysis Act”. ATRA is the largest, national membership organization representing the interests and need of recreational therapists as well as the clients that receive recreational therapy services.

This legislation represents a strong step forward to enhance the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of patients with paralysis. The legislation authorizes programs to improve the lives of persons with paralysis and other physical disabilities and it expands Veterans Health Administration activities with respect to basic, rehabilitation, and health sciences research.

ATRA is particularly supportive of the provisions contained in the bill with respect to rehabilitation of people with paralysis. Recreational therapists are health care providers using recreational therapy interventions for improved functioning of individuals with illness or disabling conditions and are an important feature in the successful rehabilitation of individuals with paralysis.

By including such key institutes as the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development and the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research and focusing on key methods of rehabilitation of nervous system trauma or stroke, patients with paralysis can achieve better outcomes through new methods of rehabilitation.

Another key aspect of the bill that ATRA strongly supports is the goal of improving quality of life for persons with paralysis and other physical disabilities. Research indicates that Recreational therapy plays a primary role in enhancing the quality of life and productivity of individuals with disabling conditions. Enjoyable activities and social relations are significant in promoting the quality of life and productivity of an individual with a disability. By developing a national paralysis and physical disability quality of life action plan, dissemination of information, collaboration with other centers and voluntary health agencies, development of comprehensive and innovative programs within existing programs, and paralysis registries, this legislation takes many steps toward improving the daily lives of those with paralysis and other disabilities.

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NEWS RELEASE
May 30 2003

Recreational Therapists Make Plans for a
Peachy Annual Conference in Atlanta


The 2003 Annual conference of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association will be held September 12-16, 2003, in Atlanta Georgia. Atlanta provides unique opportunities for the ATRA conference attendees to learn and play in a city like no other. Conference participants from across the country can explore the unique sights and sounds of Atlanta as they gather for the largest national conference for recreational therapy professionals.

The conference will include over 100 educational sessions on current healthcare issues and clinical practice for recreational therapists. Officials from the prestigious Centers for Diseases Control (CDC) will present several sessions. ATRA is a member of the External Partners group of the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities within the CDC. This new center also houses the entire branch of Health and Disability and will be a focus of the ATRA Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA this September.

ATRA has long been committed to Diversity and Atlanta with its important history in the Civil Rights movement provides an ideal setting to celebrate that commitment. In between sessions, participants have the opportunity to stroll down Sweet Auburn Avenue. The Sweet Auburn district is the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a historic site that includes a visitor center depicting the story of Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement, the restored King Birth Home, Ebenezer Baptist Church where both he and his father preached, the King burial site and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change.

Recreational therapists have a unique love of sports and recreation, so conference participants may want to visit the Centennial Olympic Park, a 21-acre legacy from the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Conference participants might stop by the CNN Center global headquarters of Turner Broadcasting System, where visitors get a first-hand look at global news in the making on the CNN Studio Tour. And no visit to Atlanta would be complete without a visit to the World of Coca-Cola Atlanta.

Make plans to join us for the 2003 ATRA Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA September 12-16, 2003!

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NEWS RELEASE
May 10, 2003

Leader in Recreational Therapy Field Receives Senior Faculty Scholarship Award

(Alexandria, VA) ATRA board member Linda L. Buettner was honored with the Florida Gulf Coast University Senior Faculty Scholarship Award on April 25th 2003 for her demonstration of a self-critical approach in scholarship, support of the scholarship mission of FGCU, mentoring of peers in scholarship, continuous growth in scholarship over time, with representative amount of scholarship occurring while serving as a faculty member at FGCU. She was the first woman to receive this award at FGCU and the first social science researcher.

Dr. Buettner’s scholarship portfolio included critically reviewed papers, presentations, articles, books along with letters of support from colleagues in the research world. She was able to document evidence of the stature of the unique research/scholarship she pursues with older adults with dementia in her research portfolio through letters from supportive colleagues. Dr. Buettner is one of the primary authors for the new Dementia Practice Guidelines, recently released by ATRA.
Dr. Buettner has been involved with a variety of new and innovative research projects, and was honored in the past with the Zenith Award from the National Alzheimer’s Association. According to the Alzheimer's Association, "The Zenith Awards, the Association’s largest and most prestigious research grants, are given to researchers with proven track records in Alzheimer research to enable them to pioneer new territory. Zenith Award recipients are some of the brightest minds in science tackling questions central to Alzheimer’s disease,

The National Alzheimer's Association is currently funding recreation therapy research proposed by Dr. Buettner using biofeedback to measure outcomes in people with advanced stage dementia, "Therapeutic recreation interventions for need-driven dementia-compromised behaviors in persons with dementia". Linda Buettner, CTRS, PhD and her colleague Sue Fitzsimmons, MS, RN, GNP have worked together on many research projects, co-presented at national, regional and local conferences and have done consulting to long term care facilities. Dr Buettner is well recognized by her colleagues for her work, having been a past recipient of the ATRA Scholarly Achievement Award.
ATRA is extremely proud to have Dr. Buettner as an active member of the leadership team.

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

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NEWS RELEASE
May 9, 2003

ATRA Revises CEU Transcripts to Include
Important Competency Codes

Professional competency is an increasingly important issue in healthcare, and the American Therapeutic Recreation Association is making it even easier for individuals to track their compliance with important facility and external competency standards. The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is preparing new ATRA CEU transcripts for their CEU customers that will provide individuals with input regarding the specific Competencies that were addressed in each educational session or event.

Dawn R. DeVries, MPA, CTRS, ATRA’s Director of Continuing Education and Competency Training followed a recommendation from the ATRA Board of Directors and added the ATRA Competencies to the CEU transcript. Now, in conjunction with the NCTRC Job Analysis Code, the ATRA competency code will also appear on each individual transcript. The list of competencies are based on the book Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning in Therapeutic Recreation: A Tool for Self Evaluation developed and written by the ATRA Higher Education Task Force (Terry Kinney, Ph.D., CTRS & Jeff Witman, Ed.D, CTRS, Chairs). This publication provides much needed direction on professional competencies for recreational therapists. According to ATRA Executive director Ann Huston, “This should help all our customers with their individual competency assessment files.”

These competencies comprise the knowledge, skills and abilities need to deliver quality recreational therapy services. The individual codes will identify the following competency areas: 1- Foundations of Professional Practice,
2-Individualized Patient/Client Assessment, 3- Planning and development of Treatment/Program Plans, 4- Implementation of the Treatment Plan,
5- Evaluation of Patient/Client Functioning and Interventions/Programs,
6- Organizing and Managing Therapeutic Recreation Services, and 7- Support Competencies.

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

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NEWS RELEASE
April 28, 2003

First Class graduates with Flying Colors for the ATRA Dementia Practice Guidelines

In continuing efforts to advance the care of individuals with Dementia, the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is pleased to announce the results of the first approved training workshop and competency based testing for the new Dementia Practice Guidelines. The first ever group of DPG Training attendees, including 45 Recreational Therapists and 2 nurses all achieved successful passing scores. The training is structured in six 50-minute segments, with a test associated with each 50-minute segment. Areas covered in the training include; knowledge/understanding of dementia, appropriate selection of interventions, assessment and identification of the disturbing behavior to treat. At the conclusion of the training, a case study test is completed that pulls together the knowledge and skills covered in each of the segments.

As quality of life issues become increasingly more recognized by the healthcare community, experts agree that nonpharmacological interventions such as recreational therapy should be attempted before medications are prescribed for disturbing behaviors. Earlier this year, ATRA released the highly anticipated Dementia Practice Guideline for Recreational Therapists to assist in the management of disturbing behaviors for older adults with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

The Dementia Practice Guideline training is focused on ensuring that recreational therapists have the skills and knowledge base to successfully implement the new DPG. ATRA will offer future regional workshops to make certain that the Dementia Practice Guidelines can be implemented throughout the country. In addition, ATRA has plans to post a Dementia Practice Recreational Therapist Directory onto ATRA website, which will include the names of everyone who has successfully passed the training and is qualified to implement the DPG for consumer and employer use. The need for this program is great. According to the Alzheimer's Association approximately 4 million Americans currently have some form of Dementia.

The Dementia Practice Guideline is intended for recreational therapists working with older adults with dementia in all care settings. The American Therapeutic Recreation Association, the largest, national membership organization representing the interests and need of recreational therapists, will coordinate the trainings and the distribution of the Dementia Practice Guidelines.

ATRA President Glenn Thompson explains, “ATRA's Dementia Practice Guidelines represent an exciting advancement in the management of dementia. This new publication and training provides a tool that can make a marked difference in the quality of life for a person living with dementia”.

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

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NEWS RELEASE
March 26, 2003

Leader in Recreational Therapy field Receives Professional Recognition Award

(Alexandria, VA) ATRA member Pamela Wilson recently received special recognition at the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Mid-Year Professional Issues Forum held March 22-26, 2003 in the Washington DC area. Wilson was only the second person to receive this award. Dr. David Austin was the first ever recipient of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association Advocacy Award in 2002.

Wilson was chosen for this recognition for her exceptional contributions in advocating for recreational therapy. Pam has a longstanding history of significant efforts in the areas of Advocacy and Public Policy. She has contributed in the drafting of ATRA Public policy Agenda and Platform statements for many years. She has provided countless educational sessions at ATRA conferences in the areas of public policy and Advocacy. In addition to her many years of excellent leadership serving as ATRA’s Treasurer for two consecutive terms and serving as President of the Association in 1998-1999, Pam continues to actively support the association through her leadership to the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation as well as her work on a local and state level.

In addition to receiving the award, ATRA has established an Advocate Award fund in Pam Wilson’s name, for those individuals who have been personally touched by Wilson’s leadership to have an opportunity to recognize her contributions to the profession by making contributions to this fund.


For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420

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NEWS RELEASE
Feb 12, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston MPA, CTRS
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Student Scholarship Announcement for the 2003 ATRA Annual Conference

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association is excited to provide the opportunity for students within the field of therapeutic recreation to receive the Peg Connolly Scholarship. Named in honor of Dr. Peg Connolly, former Executive Director of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification, this program provides a tremendous experience for students. Eight stipends are available to attend ATRA’s Annual Conference, including conference registration, lodging accommodations and meal stipend. Students are responsible for their transportation to/from the conference. This scholarship is a “working scholarship”. Students assist in various aspects of implementing the conference such as room hosting, registration and monitoring social events. This scholarship is available to undergraduate and graduate students who will be enrolled in a therapeutic recreation program during the conference year. The 2003 Annual Conference will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. This program has tremendous personal and professional benefits and rewards. Not only do students gain professional knowledge from sessions, students have the opportunity to network with professionals from around the country. ATRA believes the future of our field depends on the continuing growth of students. Today, many former scholarship recipients prove this belief by serving vital roles within our profession. ATRA wishes to reward students who demonstrate exceptional competence in the field of therapeutic recreation on the basis of their academic achievement, personal and professional philosophy, leadership skills and other occupational achievements. Due to the competitiveness of this scholarship, students will only be eligible to receive this award one time during their academic pursuits. For consideration, scholarship applications must be completed and postmarked by March 30, 2003. Scholarship recipients will be notified by April 30, 2003. Full details and an application form can be found at http://www.atra-tr.org/conference/pegannouncement.htm

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420.

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NEWS RELEASE
January 31, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Dawn DeVries, ATRA Conferences Coordinator
Phone: (703) 683-9420

ATRA Annual Now Listed on the CINAHL research database

(Alexandria) The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) is pleased to announce the acceptance of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association’s Annual in Therapeutic Recreation in the CINAHLÒ electronic database for nursing and allied health literature. ATRA’s executive Director, Ann Huston stated, “We are very pleased with the opportunity to share this worthy collection with other allied health providers.”

The Annual in Therapeutic Recreation is the professional research journal to the field of Therapeutic Recreation. Recreational Therapists at all levels, research, academia, senior clinicians, novice, entry level and students benefit from the annual release of current research to support the profession. The Annual in Therapeutic Recreation was created to provide current and relevant empirical research findings to advance the practice of recreational therapy in various health care and human service settings.

Included in the CINAHL database will be individual article abstracts/summaries and cited references. Individuals will be able to order specific articles from current and past ATRA Annual in Therapeutic Recreation editions as well as articles from the over 1,200 journals indexed in the CINAHL® database. This is an exciting advancement for the ATRA Annual in Therapeutic Recreation. ATRA is very excited at the prospect of increasing the availability of the Annual’s current and important research not only within the therapeutic recreation profession, but increasing access to all allied health professionals, researchers and students.

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2003 ATRA Awards Program

It’s that time again; time to start thinking about which of your colleagues are most deserving of some recognition. The ATRA Awards Team is seeking nominations from the membership for the Association's awards program. The Award Categories are:

--Distinguished Fellow Award- This is the highest recognition award given by ATRA. This award recognizes exceptional accomplishments within the field of TR.

--Outstanding Professional Award- This is the second most prestigious award of ATRA given to an individual that has demonstrated significant leadership and service to ATRA and the profession

--Member of the Year Award- This award is made annually to one member of ATRA for outstanding contributions to the organization

--Individual Citation- This citation is given to one non-member of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association for unique contributions to ATRA and/or to the Therapeutic Recreation Profession

--Organization or Institution Citation This award is given to an agency or organization that supports or promotes the profession.

--Frank N. Brasile Clinician of the Year Award- This award recognizes outstanding contribution to Therapeutic Recreation through creative and innovative programming in a clinical setting, promotion of the profession, and service to developing professionals.

--Excellence in Education Award- Awarded to a clinical agency or institution of higher education that has distinguished itself through outstanding contribution(s) to the TR profession in the area of education.

--Scholarly Achievement Award- Awarded to one member of ATRA who has contributed significantly to the field of knowledge of Therapeutic Recreation

--Chapter Affiliate of the Year Award- This award is given to recognize an outstanding chapter affiliate of ATRA.

--Certificate of Recognition- This Award is given to ATRA members for meritorious service that promotes, develops, or implements innovations, expansions, or improvements to TR programs, services, and education.

Nomination material must be postmarked by June 1, 2003. Full details are available on the ATRA website, www.atra-tr.org


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NEWS RELEASE
January 25, 2003

Recreational Therapy will be a visible presence at the National Alzheimer’s Association Conference

The 11th National Alzheimer's Disease Education Conference will focus on the changing face of Alzheimer's disease, providing person-centered care, developing quality staff and providing quality care, and improving systems of care and this year’s conference will include a highly visible presence by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association.

The conference will hold poster sessions highlighting nationwide Alzheimer research initiatives and programs, including three sessions presented by recreational therapists and ATRA members. Poster sessions are designed to allow presenters to interact one-on-one with participants and share best-practice advice and information, affording these individuals with a wonderful opportunity to educate conference attendees about the value of recreational therapy services for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Dr. Linda Buettner, CTRS and her colleague Suzanne Fitzsimmons, MS, RN, GNP from the Center for Positive Aging at Florida’s Gulf Coast University were notified that their session titled “ Evidence Based Practice for Disturbing Behaviors: A Guideline for Recreational Therapists”, has been accepted for this years conference. Additionally Buettner and Fitzsimmons will be presenting “Health Promotion for the Mind, Body, and Spirit: a college course for persons with mild dementia”.
Dr. Nancy Richeson, CTRS will be presenting a session titled, “"Who Let the Dogs Out? An Animal-Assisted Therapy Outcome Study for Older Adults with Dementia.” highlighting research on the effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on the Agitated Behaviors of older Adults with Dementia. The research promotes the use of recreational therapy interventions for decreasing disturbing behaviors of older adults with dementia. Richeson, from the University of Southern Maine states, “It is my hope that exposure to recreational therapy interventions by other health care professionals working with older adults with dementia will assist them to begin to recognize the importance of recreational therapy and its contribution to the healthcare team.”

ATRA has a reputation for significant advocacy efforts in the health care industry on behalf of its members. With the goal of reaching a national audience of decision-making health care professionals, ATRA has already secured a booth space at the conference. ATRA’s name will appear in the print and on-line versions of the registration book, to be viewed by more than 50,000 prospective attendees. Exhibiting at this conference provides the opportunity to share the exciting work that ATRA has been doing in the area of treatment for dementia, including ATRA's Dementia Clinical Practice Guidelines being released this year. ATRA President Glenn Thompson explains, “ATRA's Dementia Clinical Practice Guidelines represent an exciting advancement in the management of dementia. This publication provides a tool that can make a marked difference in the quality of life for a person living with dementia.

For more information, please contact the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420

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NEWS RELEASE
Jan 2, 2003

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Dawn DeVries, ATRA Conferences Coordinator
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Recreational Therapists are ‘Capitalizing’ on Strengths

The 2003 Mid-Year Professional Issues Forum of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association will be March 23 - 26, 2003, in the Washington, D.C. area. Recreational Therapists from across the country will have the chance to enjoy Washington’s beautiful Cherry Blossoms while they attend this remarkable conference. This year’s theme: “ATRA: Capitalizing on Our Strengths”” reflects the dynamic nature of the conference addressing advocacy and advancements in the therapeutic recreation field.

Dr. Margaret G. Stineman, M.D. is scheduled as a keynote presenter for the conference. Dr. Stineman, one of the leading researchers in the rehabilitation field is the developer of the FRG's (Functionally Related Groups). Dr. Stineman's offers her enthusiastic support to ATRA and recreational therapists, stating, “"I find what you are doing to be extremely exciting and am honored that you are considering me as a keynote speaker. I see the work of recreational therapists with regard to community integration as absolutely essential. Its importance will continue to grow as we move toward concepts of community based rehabilitation."

ATRA has a reputation for significant advocacy efforts in the health care industry on behalf of its members. Many distinguished guests will be participating in this years’ conference including ATRA Legislative Counsel, Peter Thomas, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Jeremy Allen, from the office of Representative Bilirakis, from Florida, and Connie Gardner from the office of Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts. Congressman John E. Peterson, of the Pennsylvania 5th Congressional District, will be very involved with the conference as well, in his new role as the ATRA Ad Hoc Advisor to the Board

Our Nation’s Capitol is the perfect place for recreational therapists to ‘Capitalize on their Strengths’ and to learn the latest advancements in the field of therapeutic recreation.

Three pre-conference institutes are scheduled on the latest in treatment for rehabilitation and individuals with dementia to an intensive workshop on current public policy issues that affect healthcare and the provision of therapeutic recreation services. The conference includes over 30 educational sessions on a broad range of state of the art healthcare topics from policy to programming including; The World Health Organization’s ICF, Mental Health Legislative Issues, Current Issues in Long Term Care, Healthy People 2010, The Olmstead Decision: Implications for Recreational Therapy, and how to implement a Therapeutic Ice Skating Program. With over 70 Museums in the DC area, conference participants will have many excellent educational opportunities in addition to the excellent conference sessions.

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NEWS RELEASE
November 25, 2002

Contact: Laurie Jake, ATRA Communications Coordinator
Phone (480) 460-1525 or
Ann D Huston, ATRA Executive Director
Phone: (703) 683-9420

Foundation Approves Two Grant Proposals for Funding

(Alexandria, VA) The American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation (ATRF) recently announced the approval of funds for two research grants. The first proposal, "Air mat therapy for the treatment of agitated wandering and aggression" by Marcia Shalek, CTRS focuses on the ever-increasing need to improve services to the geriatric population. As quality of life issues become increasingly more recognized by the healthcare community, healthcare professionals are challenged in finding creative ways to address these issues.

The second proposal, "The Effectiveness of a Recreational Modality (Tai Chi Chuan) in Enhancing Health Status and Reducing Health Care Costs in an Elderly Population." By Andrew Paterna, capitalizes on the increasing interest in many alternative therapy interventions in healthcare today.

Past grants have studied a variety of areas including the effectiveness of aquatic therapy and using recreational therapy interventions for preventing falls.

The American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation is a non-profit foundation established in 1992 by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA). The founding principles of the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation are to develop and promote opportunities for education and research. Priority consideration is given to efficacy research projects related to topics that provide evidence as to the effectiveness of recreation therapy interventions, and that examine outcomes and cost effectiveness of recreation therapy protocols.

Gifts to the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation support the advancement of the recreational therapy profession. For more information, please contact Laurie Jake, CTRS, ATRA Communications Coordinator at (480) 460-1525 or the ATRA National Office at (703) 683-9420

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