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Started November 1996 - survey is now closed to additional responses

Results: Survey on Future of Health Care and Recreation Therapy

Number of Responses = 18

Do you believe that recreation therapy has a bright future?

Absolutely- 7 I Believe So- 7 Maybe - 2 Probably Not- 1 No Way-

Share with us the reasons for your response.....

Shorter length of stays and cut backs in the hospital setting are affecting TR services. (As well as other disciplines). Administrations are appointing only one TR staff person to see 20-40 persons. Quality care can not be delivered in a hospital setting. I feel pediatrics might survive. I feel home health is the trend of health care. So many services are being provided at that level to cut down costs. However, Recreation services are not available for home health or outpatient. I feel the transition is not being made from acute care to community because acute care is being replaced by home health and shorter length of stays. Also transitional care levels (hospital placed SNF's) are replacing acute rehab. At these levels, activity directors can be staffed. Overall, I feel Therapeutic Recreation will be community based with less qualified staff. The light is dimming for recreation therapy's future.

People do not realize what RT is capable of doing, our outcomes, goals, etc. Until people start realizing that, until we can become recognized as a valid therapy, until we prove our outcomes and benefits for clients- once these things happen RTs future will be really bright. We need to show how cost effective RT is compared to PT, OT, SLP and that our outcomes and interventions are similar.

I believe TR has a bright future IF we can look to the future of health care instead of operating in the yesterday and today. The medical model of treatment is going to become extinct very soon, because we have found that it is not effective. TR could be a front runner in the new movement toward total health care, or TRUE holistic treatment if we start now. We must recognize the need for services post-discharge. We must address issues in every area of our patients' lives by identifying deficits in each of the 5 domains (cognitive, social, affective, physical, and spiritual). Slowly, the need for this type of treatment is being recognized for its long term effectiveness. We all know that people are whole beings, not a machine with parts working independently of one another. We must begin to treat our patients as human beings...as whole beings. We must look past the primary diagnosis and treat the whole patient. If we can start to do this we will be ahead of the game, and will be providing quality services to our patients.

I believe TR has a future because it is so diverse and so effective. However, we do put our selves at risk when when don't advocate for TR or don't apply ourselves to documentation. At times we are our worst enemies.

I am a Therapeutic Recreation student in my Senior year. The knowledge that I have gained through my classes is so incredible. I worked this summer in a nursing home in their recreation department. What I didn't realize is that I wasn't learning therapeutic recreation. I was learning how to plan activities. There is definitely a difference. I went back recently to visit and met their new administrator. My former supervisor (not a CTRS) introduced me and I told her I was studying TR. She was extremely interested and told me to come back sometime because she would like to discuss in further detail what I am earning my major in. The more we as students, as well as professionals, make others aware that their is more to TR than planning the weekly Bingo! the more we will be taken seriously for what we are and what we know. Many employers do not realize that there is Leisure Education, Treatment, as well as the old recreation participation. For a class that I am taking right now, one of our projects this semester is to out together a presentation packet that tells people about TR. We can choose any audience we want. I have chosen to use my old employer. This packet of information is a tool that I can use now and in the future (of course with a few updates)to make people aware that we are a profession. So, to answer the question...Yes, we do have a bright future as long as we tell people what we are all about.

I have my degree in Recreation and am looking forward to working on a master's that involves TR. I have worked since graduation in nursing homes and adult day centers as an Activity Director and have seen how well the therapy and recreation work hand in hand. Most older adults fell set in their ways, but will respond to something that is "fun". When that fun can be incorporated in to a program that improves or sustains mobility and memory, then you have a good program. The older population is the fastest growing group in America and professionals are needed to cope with the changing face of the population.

TRS's will be more in demand as health care moves to the continuum of services and TRs develop their niche in community reintegration. And of course the opportunities are endless working with older adults.

As far as having substantial information, TR MUST find a way to document MEASURABLE goals, with assessments combining function: meaning that if a patient is hospitalized, and during the initial eval, a therapist asks what are your leisure interests. The patient responds "I love water skiing". Hospitals do not provide water skiing therapy. There must be a measurable way to adapt the skills needed to independently "water ski" into functional, measurable, and reportable data. We must learn to speak in "medicare" language.

There are health care facilities in Michigan that have combined Therapeutic Recreation and Occupational Therapy together. With increasing pressure on billing and productivity, co-treatments are likely to be a more common practice.

With the increase of managed health care and awareness of TR, I feel that hospitals and clinics will be turning to our discipline more so in the future.

Recreation Therapy can survive this crisis of 3rd party payers and limited insight by fellow professionals if and only if quantifiable and qualifiable data can be produced to substantiate the claim of being beneficial to the patient/client. Without this data all we have are vague generalatities and supposition to try to persuade administrators, insurance companies, other professionals, patients, etc... that what can offer something of value. Thus we have a challenge infront of us, one that we should have undertook about 10-15 years ago. That challenge is to build a body of research that will enable us to survive this crisis. Can we do it? I beleive so, however we all must learn how to do research studies, outcome studies, and be innovative with new programs that are function based and have measurable outcomes. With that done our future is most certainly bright.

Medicaid now pays $28 per hour for therapuetic recreation providing agencies who serve eligible consumers the finacial ability to hire TR's as well as an additional source of income. As a TR working with DD sdults in the community my programing brings in approximately $1200 per week in medicaid funds, this is far an above the cost of salary and benefits for myself and an assistant. When working with agencies in the community to help clients with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and substance abuse TR plays an important part in keeping clients out of jail and more independent, thus lessing the finacially impact on the community for maintaining these individuals. Hopefully, public opinion and political policy will continue to recognise this.

I beleive the future is bright due to the aging of America. We are going to have to look more into outpaitent programs and look more into combining with the community recreation programs. Rather than what I see, a definite split between the two areas. I believe we are looking into a more integrated America than in the past.

A bright future in Recreation Therapy depends on each and every CTRS / Therapeutic Rec. Practitioner becoming educated & trained in the skills & techniques required to succeed in a Managed Care Marketplace. There are programs that have successfully done this in all types of facilities and populations. The secret is having at least one TR Specialist move into a strategic management position whereby he/she can insert the proper language and terminology within Managed Care contracts....that require a CTRS to implement TR Services at a marketable cost.... with the greatest "value" for the dollar. TR Specialists must be able to measure the qualities and accomplishments of our work....and relate these measures to the "value" achieved per dollar spent. In this way, we can maintain an equal status with other "more established" disciplines who currently are recognized as Managed Care Service Providers.

With the changes in health care and recreation therapy being a part of those changes, I believe that recreation therapy has a pretty good chance for the future. It also appears that the general public is becoming more aware of what recreation therapy is, although we still have a LONG way to go with educating the public. The ADA has also helped with strengthening the recreation therapy profession.

The occupational job index suggests this. The graying of America. More community and home based care. WE may need to look at how we deliver service once again, but we can hang in there.

As a student in the field of recreational therapy, I feel that the future has great opportunities for us. I feel there will be many challenges in the future for the field but with team work the solutions can be solved. Im looking forward to working in this field and I can not wait to work with the individuals that need a caring professional to help with daily living.

I have found that with budgets decreasing, therapeutic recreation services are the first to be cut back. Health Care organizations such as HCFA and JCAHO have not yet required CTRS to be a standard in their reqirements. Until NCTRC works for us and gets this changed, all CTRS will be competeing for fewer and fewer jobs with non certified people. Don't be fooled that there are many Recreation Therapy job opprtunities. If you take a closer look you will find that most of the job opportunities are part time with little or no benefits.


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