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Recreational Therapy Archives

1959 JHPER: National Recreational Therapy Section News

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(Editor: Benedict F. Fiore)

(year)volume:issue:page

(1959)30:1:62;3:71;4:71;5:55;6:61

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Originally published in the January 1959 JHPER, v30, issue 1, page 62...

Outside Help in Recreation

When hospital recreation people get together at meetings or conferences, and the business is completed, the conversation turns to program. If the "what" and "how" of recreation activities are not taken up during the meeting, they turn up at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Most of us can recall presenting our pet programs, only to find that someone in a hospital a thousand miles away is doing similar work--then we begin to feel that there isn't really too much new or different in recreational work.

But to subscribe to this kind of thinking, leaves no room to improve, adapt, or change, and if we reach this point, we have failed to use all of the sources of materials and ideas that can be of assistance to us.

One of these sources is really near at hand; we are referring to the men and women in the community who spend their after hours teaching youngsters, the oldsters, or the handicapped how to play together.

You know them well. You find them at the cub and brownie scout meetings or at any of the other community organizations that need their talents and leadership on a volunteer basis.

In Northampton, their names happen to be Robert and Doris Young. Bob lends his skills to the Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, and various church groups in town. his wife conducts leadership training for the Cub Scout den mothers and in her "spare" time lends Bob a hand with is boys and girls.

We asked these two if they could stimulate our volunteers in ward programs. This was a new approach to the "what" and "how." Would the games and devices for youngsters interest adults? The Youngs accepted the challenge.

We had an evening meeting, turning our volunteers over to Bob and Doris. The Youngs broke the ice safely, and in the course of the evening found nothing in their bag of tricks which the group would not accept.

Games that were designed for youngsters caught the eye of these volunteers who saw in them something that would hold the attention of adults equally well. Our volunteer leaders went from table to table trying out all the games and puzzles, many of them made at home from wood, cloth or leather, and making notes of everything they saw and knew they could use in their ward programs.

The games and puzzles were not too much different from those in any game room, but the added ingredient was the infectious enthusiasm of the Youngs.

Look up the Bob Youngs in your own community. In the day they may be busy in a shop or store, but in the evenings and on weekends, they can do a fine job for you and your volunteers.

Assistance from Within

The recreaton therapist can draw on many sources outside the recreation field for assistance in doing a better job for his patients. Several of these have been mentioned previously. Now we would like to direct your attention to those other paraphysician and paramedical services within the confines of the hospital itself which must be consulted by those whose responsibility it is to plan, supervise, or conduct recreation programs for the mentally ill.

The following is a quotation from the Program Guide for the Recreation Division, issued by the Department of Medicine and Surgery of the Veterans Administration on June 3, 1957. "Unlike the person employed in recreation settings outside the hospital, the hospital recration leader has immediately at his disposal a full measure of professional guidance and assistance from such colleagues as the nurse, social worker, psychologist, rehabilitation therapist, librarian, dietitian and chaplain. (He receives aid also from the registrar, engineer supply officer and others.) In his relationships with these personnel, he should recognize that the exchange of ideas, information and assistance is a 'two-way street.' It is imperative that he respect the confidentiality with which he receives information on patients and use this information wisely. Generally, and within limitations of available staffs, the hospital recreation leader works with other paramedical personnel in the following areas:

  • In planning the overall program and scheduling specific activities.

  • In ascertaining patients' interests and immediate needs.

  • In the orientation and in-service training of recreation staff, volunteers, and others assisting in the program.

  • In the conduct of special projects, studies, and research.

  • In planning for the patients' adjustment to the hospital and medical treatment, and for his discharge from the hospital.

  • In keeping patients and others informed of the recreational opportunities available within the hospital's setting.

  • In actually assisting in, or recruiting assistance for, the conduct of recreation on the ward."



Originally published in the February 1959 JHPER, v30, issue 2, page 61...

Dance Therapy Study

We recently saw the mimeographed report of the Dance Therapy Study Committee of the National Section on Dance. This group included Claudia Hood, Bettie Wooten, Dorothy Madden, and Marian Chace. The committee made a study of the courses and literature available on dance therapy in mental hospitals. (An article covering the report appears on page 17.)

Included are an interesting summary of information gathered from twenty-five dance therapists currently at work in hospital settings and the comments and suggestions of the committee.

Requests for copies of the five-page mimeographed report should be made to Claudia Hood, 1314 W. 93rd St., Los Angeles 44, California. We believe it will be of interest to recreation therapists.

Square Dances for Recreation Work

While on the subject of dances for mental patients mention should be made of the new series of instructional films, records, and manuals on square dancing produced by the Audio-Visual Center of Indiana University. The series consists of six films, either in color or black and white, which may be rented or purchased from the University. The music and calls have also been recorded on tape. Author of the series is Janet McLean of the Indiana University recreation staff.

New Game Book

Looking for new games for your geriatric patients? Browse through the book "Games for the Not So Young," by Syd Hedges, New York Philosophical Library. The book is reviewed by Mildred K. Linzer in the April, 1958 issue of Mental Hygiene. Selected appropriately for the aging, many of the games described are new to the American scene, including many for two players.

(Professional meetings for recreational therapists will be listed here in March.)



Originally published in the March 1959 JHPER, v30, issue 3, page 71...

Professional Meetings

We have always felt that professional recreation people should attend at least one major recreation conference each year--more if at all possible. It attendance at such meetings must be limited to just one, because of time or budget limitations, selection of that meeting should be made well in advance of the time to pack the bag. This gives us the opportunity to make the most judicious use of our choice and to attend the meeting which holds the most promise or the one to which we can make the best contribution.

The conference season is now upon us; the time for deciding is at hand, and there is a choice of several important professional meetings in April.

The Recreation Therapy Section of the Eastern District AAHPER will hold its annual meeting at the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 21, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. The topic of the meeting will be "Recreation Programming." Chairman of the section is Barbara T. Waxham. Panel speakers will be Paul Haun, director of educational institutions and agencies for the state of New Jersey, who will speak on recreation in psychiatric hospitals; John Jenny of the Department of Health, Physical and Safety Education of Wilmington, Delaware, whose subject will be recreation programs for the handicapped; and our contribution to the meeting will be a discussion on organizing community resources for the hospital recreation program.

At the Central District Convention, held at Waterloo, Iowa, April 8-11, recreational therapists can learn something at the two sessions of the therapeutics section, on techniques and relationships to health. A Health Division meeting on "Identifying and Solving Problems in Mental Health" will also be useful.

While no recreation therapy sections meet this year at the Midwest and Central District Conventions, there are sessions at both which will be of interest to you. At the Midwest District meeting, held in Indianapolis, April 15-17, the Recreation Division will tackle the problems of "Status and Proposed Plans for Certification of Recreation Personnel."

At the AAHPER national convention in Portland, Oregon, March 20-April 2 (held in conjunction with the Northwest and Southwest Districts), there are two special meetings for the Recreational Therapy Section. On Monday, March 30, a morning session will discuss the topic "The Use of Recreation in the Treatment of the Mentally, Ill." Thomas J. Clark, of the Ohio State Department of Mental Health, and Robert C. Boyd, VA Hospital, Downey, Illinois, will be the principal speakers. On Monday afternoon, the topic will be "An Integrated Hospital Recreation Program," and Dr. Clark will again lead the discussion.

General Recreation Division meetings offer much to our group also. Governor Mark O. Hatfield, of Oregon, will speak on "Cooperative Planning for Recreation," and the recreation tours on Tuesday include a trip to the Portland Rehabilitation Center, Shriners Hospital (children), and the Barnes Hospital

A regional meeting of interest to us has also been scheduled for April. The Fourth Southern Regional Institute on Recreation in Hospitals will be held in Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina, on April 23-25. Some 100 recreation leaders working in the hospital setting will discuss the "What, Why, and How of the Hospital Recreation Program."

These meetings present a great opportunity for us. Attendance at such gatherings is one of the ways we grow professionally.

Plan with Patient-Government Groups

If our hospital recreation program for the mentally ill is to be designed to meet the interest and capabilities of our patients, we must consult these patients to discover what their interests and capabilities are. It is not enough that we plan the program around the direction of our medical staff, the skills of our recreation therapists and volunteers, the architecture of our hospital, the availability of equipment and materials, or the annual budget. The patient himself must figure prominently in our plans for his recreation.

The recreation leader can discover these interests through the use of so-called "Recreation Interest" sheets which are used in most hospitals and through his personal contacts with patients. He can also make use of the patients' organizations: the ward government groups and the patients councils. These are excellent media both for the discovery of patients' interests and the introduction of new programs. Such groups can be used as a two-way channel for ideas to the patients and from the patients. The use of patient-government groups for this purpose gives the patients an opportunity to become partners with the therapist in the planning of their own recreation programs.

Originally published in the April 1959 JHPER, v30, issue 4, page 71...

The word "idea" is probably one of the most important in Mr. Webster's book for recreation people everywhere. Whether we work in a hospital setting, school, or industry, a part--and often all- of our thinking process is working on ways and means to improve our program. In hospital recreation we must develop new ideas around such general topics as patient interests, motivation, and a varied schedule of activities. Our search for ideas does not stop here, either.

Consider staff training, all the aspects of the volunteer program, public relations, supplies, equipment, and the control of property, office routine and record keeping, just to mention some of the more important phases of hospital recreation. We must think of better ways to carry out these responsibilities if we want to do a more effective job, yet who among us has a corner on the best way of doing any of these things?

A better way of improving our operation is to draw on the ideas and suggestions of others. These ideas can come from those who are a part of the program- patients, recreation staff members, volunteers--and from others not at all connected with it--therapists from other hospital services, nursing personnel, technicians, etc.

Brainstorming

Organized systems for soliciting and gathering these new or different ideas about any subject come under the general classification of creative thinking. Many of you, no doubt, are familiar with the most publicized form of creative thinking, brainstorming. Almost 20 years ago Alex F. Osborn, a vice-president of a large advertising firm, conceived the system of "group ideation" which has since become so widely known as brainstorming. It has spread through industry, schools, and many branches of government.

It is not our intent here to describe brainstorming or explain its principles and rules of procedure. We merely want to bring to your attention one more tool for improving your hospital recreation program.

Not too long ago the staff of a hospital for the mentally ill in New England held a training course on creative thinking. The final meeting of the course was the brainstorm session. After a spirited discussion on identification of the subject for brainstorming the problem selected was "What additional activities can volunteers carry on to improve their service to mental patients?"

Invitations to join the recreation staff for the brainstorm meeting were issued to a nurse, a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a doctor, the chief of housekeeping, and a dental technician. All participants were briefed on the problem and given Osborn's four ground rules for brainstorming a few days before the meeting was held.

Pooling Ideas

At the end of 35-minutes of brainstorming, the group came up with a total of 64 ideas on volunteer activities. These were increased to an even 70 by the "after-thoughts" collected over the telephone on the following day.

When the list was screened by a panel of professional recreation staff members, 50 of the ideas were discarded, 26 because they were already a part of the program and 24 because they were not appropriate for that hospital. Twelve were classified as promising but needing refinement or a change in hospital policy before they could be adopted. Eight were accepted as excellent additions to the existing list of activities.

Of the original 70 ideas contributed by the group eight, or better than 11 percent, represented new and helpful ways in which volunteers could make a better contribution to the hospital's activities for the patients; and twelve, or better than 17 percent, held a promise of usefulness. It is important to this report to state that this survey took place at a hospital where the volunteer program was firmly established and was currently served by almost 1200 trained volunteers and over 5000 "casuals."

No doubt some of the 50 ideas which were passed over at this hospital could be implemented at others where conditions were different. If you would like to have a copy of all four lists, send a stamped self addressed envelope to me at the address given at the top of this column.

Originally published in the May-June 1959 JHPER, v30, issue 5, page 55...

SWIMMING FOR THE HANDICAPPED

A report of the third Institute on Swimming for the Physically Handicapped is now available for distribution. This report covers the proceedings of an institute which was devoted to a discussion of "Where are we and where are we going?" with swimming for the handicapped.

The following topics are covered in the report: Basic Thoughts Important to Swimming Programs for the Physically Handicapped; Teaching Methods and Techniques; Instructor-Swimmer Relationships; Adding Extra Values to your Program; Relating your Program to the community. The report also includes discussion of a skit which was presented, depicting a typical swimming program and concerned with recruitment of swimmers, instructors, and volunteers and procedures at the pool.

This is the fourth booklet in the Recreation and Camping Department Monograph Series of the Connecticut Society for Crippled Children and Adults (available from the Society, 740 Asylum Ave., Hartford 5, Conn.). The Society also has published a Directory of Recreation and Swimming Programs for the Physically Handicapped in Connecticut which may be requested at no charge.

MAKING REPORTS*

Do you report to higher authority? We all do, of course, in one way or another. When we make our reports in writing our primary purpose is to have it read. Charles G. Roswell, director, Hospital Services, United Hospital Fund of New York City, recently prepared a list of ten points to keep in mend while writing reports. It appeared in the January 16, 1959, issue of Hospitals, the journal of the American Hospital Association. Try these aids on the next report you prepare:

  1. Organize record-keeping so reports can be issued promptly and at regular intervals. Decisions, based on ancient history tend to lose effectiveness.

  2. Practice the are of being brief and to the point. A detailed report is not necessarily a meaningful report.

  3. Learn to distinguish between the important and unimportant. Separate the wheat from the chaff.

  4. Be accurate both with statements made in the narrative form as well as in the presentation of financial or statistical data.

  5. State the case clearly and concisely and in language the reader can understand.

  6. Wherever possible employ techniques which simplify the data presented. Figures can be more readily interpreted when rounded to show amounts in even hundreds and thousands. Use statistical techniques that convert large numbers into smaller units which can be more readily digested by the reader.

  7. Remember that reports prepared for management will have limited meaning unless the data presented are related to a standard or target which will facilitate the evaluation of actual performance. The target can take the form of a budget, a forecast, established standards, or any other device that affords some basis for comparison.

  8. Have the courage to honestly report all facts whether they reflect favorable or unfavorable circumstances.

  9. Dramatize the presentation. Within reason, charts and graphs should be used to reflect trends, important words or phrases should be underscored, and arrows or other symbols should be used to direct attention to important facts. The judicious use of color can also improve the appearance of the report. Do everything within reason to make reports interesting and attractive to the reader.

  10. Keep in mind that, sooner or later, the cost of preparing reports is bound to be balanced against the value of the information compiled. Therefore, it is important to prepare reports that will be read and not just filed away for possible future reference.

*Reprinted with permission from Hospitals, Journal of the American Hospital Association 33:35; January 16, 1959.

 

 

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