Congress sessions on the ill and handicapped start with "Recreation—A Positive Force in Preventive Medicine"; and continue with the following program : "How to Use Recreation Activities as a Therapeutic Tool"; "A Report on the Study of Recreation in Hospitals," a study being conducted by the National Recreation Association; "New Concepts in Recruitment and Education of Personnel Working with the Ill and Handicapped"; "Demonstrations of Recreation Techniques for the Mentally Retarded"; "Techniques of Observation and Reporting on Patient Behavior"; "Developing Programs Around Life Patterns and Social Customs of Patients in Institutions for the Aged." Following this will be an interesting demonstration of community resources available nationally for recreation in hospitals and related institutions. The closing session will be of tremendous importance to all of us: "Cooperative Planning for the Handicapped — Joint Responsibility of the Community and the Institution."
I think you will be interested to know that we have two projects—one in New York City, the other in Hartford, Connecticut — going full speed right now, promoting recreation in nursing homes, of which there are 25,000 in the United States ; less than a handful provide any type of organized recreation activity for their patients. It is quite unbelievable but these patients are awakened at seven-thirty in the morning, left in bed or put in a chair next to the bed, just to sit, staring at the wall, from morning till evening with absolutely nothing to do. Nursing homes have had little indoctrination or education concerning the very positive value of recreation and, as a group, they fear the cost of recreation would be too high for them. The NRA hopes to disprove this idea. We are demonstrating that one worker can be jointly employed by three homes, each using him on a part-time basis. The balance of the program can be supplemented by volunteer help, trained by any professional recreation association in the community. Expensive equipment, such as movie projectors, can be rotated, and basic games and arts and crafts material are expendable and inexpensive.
The two pilot projects, conducted by the NRA, both in New York and Hartford, are proving their feasibility, and have evoked tremendous community interest. If you know of any nursing homes in your area, please inform them, of this plan and ask them to write us for further details, if interested.
The National Study of Recreation in Hospitals will be ready for distribution October first. Included are a study of all hospitals in the United States having organized recreation programs and a study of the two thousand people carrying them out.
Are you approaching hospitals and nursing homes in your area not having organized recreation, and trying to promote it? Are you going to the local high schools and colleges to inform students about our field, recreation for the ill and handicapped? Recruits are desperately needed!
Two new publications that will be of interest to you : Social Class and Mental Illness, by A. B. Hollingshead, Ph.D. and F. C. Redlich, M. D., demonstrates the effect of a patient's social class on the treatment he receives in the hospital; Recreation for the Mentally III, edited by B. E. Phillips, Ph.D., is the first comprehensive report on the various aspects of recreation practice in psychiatry.