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National Recreation Association magazine "Recreation"

Hospital Capsules by Beatrice H. Hill

(NOTE: Mrs. Beatrice H. Hill is consultant on hospital recreation for the National Recreation Association.)
1955, Volume 48, Page 291

Miss Doris Berryman, recreation director at Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, briefly summarizes the Second Southern Regional Conference on Hospital Recreation, held at the University of North Carolina:

The conference got under way with one of the most challenging and thought provoking speeches I have ever heard, when Alexander Reid Martin, M.D., of New York, representing the American Psychiatric Association, spoke on “A Philosophy of Recreation for the Mentally and Physically Ill.”

In the sessions chaired by Irma Davis, recreation director at James Ewing Hospital; New York, we discussed similarities and differences in programs for children, tubercular, chronic, and short-term patients--and also pointed out patients’ anxieties and fears and how a recreation worker can help allay them.

The discussion of research, by Dr. Edith Ball, School of Education, New York University, led to the conclusions that studies could be divided into four categories ranging from the simple survey done by senior students up to the complex studies done for doctoral theses or by highly trained research teams. Contributions are needed on all levels. Biggest problem is lack of money, so the group voted to request The Council for the Advancement of Hospital Recreation--at their next meeting, June 3--to appoint a committee to outline, in the next six months, at least one study to be presented to those foundations which have money available.

The group on in-service training, led by Russell G. Range, chief of recreation, Veterans Administration Hospital, Salisbury, North Carolina, discussed the value of training ward aides to help in the recreation program, and how best to train them. There was also discussion on the importance of training and orienting volunteers, and an exchange of ideas and experiences in handling this problem.

The panel on mental and emotional ills, chaired by Paul Haun, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, discussed seven important questions: (1) Is the recreation worker a therapist? (2) What are the desirable personality traits in a recreation worker? (3) What information about the clinical status of the patient does the recreation worker need? (4) Should the physician prescribe recreation activity? (5) Do recreation activities afford a means for the expression of feelings? (6) What techniques are useful in selecting recreation workers? (7) What recreation programs are particularly adapted to patients who are mentally ill?

The aim of the panel was not to find specific answers for these questions, but to stimulate interest in the problems and to exchange ideas based on each worker’s experiences. They also pointed out that each of these questions had ramifications that needed exploring and the danger in coming to hasty conclusions.

The final meeting on Tuesday afternoon was divided into three groups: military hospitals; Veterans Administration Hospitals; and state, municipal, county and private hospitals. Each group discussed problems pertinent to their own situation.

In addition to these workshops, there were patient demonstrations of recreation for cerebral palsy children, the blind, and the mentally ill. Special meetings included: a speech by Bernath E. Phillips, Ph.D., Veterans Administration, on work simplifications; a discussion and demonstration on music in hospitals led by Carl Meyers, chief, Special Services, Veterans Administration, Oteen; and a party demonstration given by Miss Ruth McCall, field director, American Red cross, Fort Bragg.

I believe all who attended the conference will unanimously agree it proved to be most stimulating and informative. Due credit must be given to all who assisted in and with the program, particularly to the genial and gracious host Harold D. Meyer, who was responsible for creating another milestone towards the advancement of hospital recreation.


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