Programming and Services - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Therapeutic Recreation Programs and Services

Recreational TherapyWoman Riding Wheelchair Through Park

Art Therapy

Music Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy

Recreation Activity Programming

Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapy is a treatment service to improve functioning and independence as well as reducing or eliminating the effects of an illness or disability. The following are goal areas of recreational therapy in individual and group treatment:

Leisure Skill Development

A comprehensive, personalized assessment is provided to determine physical and cognitive abilities necessary to pursue leisure interests. Therapy sessions include the use of adaptive equipment, activity modifications and adaptive techniques to increase a patients’ independent leisure functioning. Patients will also have the opportunity to develop new skills for future leisure pursuits. Some examples of these may include, but are not limited to:

  • Billiards
  • Bowling
  • Crafts
  • Horticulture
  • Golf
  • Fishing
  • Ceramics
  • Board games 

Community Reintegration Training

Knowledge of accessibility issues and problem solving skills for community reintegration are assessed. Patients are educated in these areas relating to their needs and abilities. Community outings are designed to assist patients in preparing for community functioning after discharge. The Therapeutic Recreation Department owns an accessible van that is utilized specifically for community reintegration training outings and allows for more diverse outing destinations. Potential outings may include, but are not limited to:

Leisure Education

Training for patients to evaluate personal leisure values, perception and motivation towards leisure. Specific skills for travel, sports and community activities can be addressed during group or individual treatment sessions.

  • Sports Education Series - Discussions designed to educate patients on a variety of adapted sports opportunities to increase involvement. This may include photos, videos, athlete visits and arranged outside speakers.
  • Community Resources - A structured group to address recreational resources within discharge destination to plan for patients' future community needs.
  • O'Hare Travel Training - RIC’s Therapeutic Recreation Department, in conjunction with Delta Airlines, provides a group training session to O'Hare airport for a hands-on air travel training experience for people with disabilities. Discussion and problem solving with peers may include making air travel reservations, check in, what to expect at the security gate, accessible transportation to and from gates and boarding/deplaning procedures.
  • Chicago Public Transportation Travel Training - RIC’s Therapeutic Recreation Department, in conjunction with Chicago Regional Transportation Authority, provides information about accessible transportation options available for people with disabilities. Participants are invited to practice entering and exiting buses, locating accessible routes and stations and RTA Accessible services and programs.
  • Relaxation Training - Learned techniques that may include guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, aroma therapy, meditation and others that may be explored to reduce stress and anxiety.

Recreational Resource Awareness

Resources are provided via written materials and community program referrals based on patients’ recreation interests, status and discharge destination.

  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Community Recreation Centers
  • Support Groups
  • National organizations

Social Functioning

The Therapeutic Recreation Department positively promotes social interaction between patients and family members. The focus is on decreasing a person's feeling of isolation by encouraging involvement in group treatment and evening/weekend recreation programming. Assistance with development of social skills and establishment of support after disability is provided.

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Art Therapy

The Therapeutic Recreation Department has an art therapist on staff to provide individual and group treatment upon the order of an MD.

Some mediums utilized include: watercolor, sculpture, collage, woodworking, sketching and paint.

Grow abilities through art thearpy Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making, within a professional relationship, by people who experience illness, trauma or challenges in living and by people who seek personal development. Through creating art and reflecting on the art products and process, people can:

  • Increase awareness of self and others
  • Cope with symptoms
  • Reduce stress due to traumatic experiences
  • Enhance cognitive abilities
  • Enjoy the life-affirming pleasures of making art

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Music Therapy

The Music Therapy program at RIC includes ;a board certified music therapist who provides group treatment and individual sessions upon the order of an MD and therapist referrals.

Music therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses. Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Girl in Music TherapyPromote wellness
  • Manage stress
  • Alleviate pain
  • Express feelings
  • Enhance memory
  • Improve communication
  • Promote physical rehabilitation

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Animal Assisted Therapy

AAT is the use of a dog to facilitate positive changes in a broad spectrum of therapeutic settings. ;Under direction of health services and education professionals, animal-assisted therapy can promote physical movement, emotional well being, cognitive awareness and social improvement for people with disabilities.

Canine Companions for Independence

RIC’s uses its own canine companion service dog to assist patients with various physical, cognitive and emotional treatment goals.hese goals are met through individual treatment or visits to the patient units handled by trained recreational therapists. Georgia is RIC's own black Labradooodle canine companion. Read more about Georgia.

Chenny Troupe

An animal-sssisted therapy program in the evenings. Certified therapy dogs and volunteers work in groups with patients to reach rehabilitation goals supervised by recreational therapists.

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Recreation Activity Programming

Recreational programs are designed to provide patients and family members with a variety of activities to increase awareness of recreational opportunities, socialization, creative expression, relaxation and adjustment to disability. The primary purpose of recreation services is to provide recreation resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being. A Leisure Times events calendar is delivered weekly to patients rooms listing activities, dates, times and location of events. Possible musical entertainment may include:

  • Musical entertainment
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Arts programming
  • Games and activities

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