Recreation therapists at Burke utilize a wide range of interventions to help patients make improvements in the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure areas of their lives. They assist patients to develop skills, knowledge and behaviors for daily living and community involvement. Recreation therapists work with the patient to incorporate specific interests into therapy to achieve optimal outcomes that transfer to real life situations. Research supports the concept that people with satisfying lifestyles will be happier and healthier.
At Burke, recreation therapy interventions for physician-referred patients include individualized therapy sessions, as well as treatment in small group settings, sometimes in conjunction with physical and occupational therapists or speech-language pathologists. All of Burke’s therapeutic recreation staff members are credentialed certified therapeutic recreation specialists. In addition, one is a complementary therapist and another is a registered yoga instructor.
In relaxation therapy sessions, patients learn stress management techniques that help prevent or alleviate emotional symptoms which may occur with illness or injury. Techniques include guided imagery, progressive relaxation, breathing techniques, and various types of meditation. Practicing these relaxation techniques may result in a strengthened immune system, improved physical performance, reduced pain, improved sleep, and improved quality of life.
Get Ahead Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
This intervention addresses cognition, orientation, memory, social interaction skills, and communication. Designed primarily for patients who have experienced stroke or brain injury, this therapy helps patients make practical improvements and gain confidence.
Humor Therapy (HIGH)*
HIGH (Humor Is Good for Health) therapy uses the power of laughter, humor, and positive attitude to bring about physical and emotional benefits. Negative emotions can have a detrimental effect on the physical and emotional quality of life, and can negatively impact the full benefit of a physical rehabilitation program. Humor therapy sessions help patients build habits of positive outlook and positive behavior.
*New York State Therapeutic Recreation Association Innovative Program of the Year (2000)
Complementary Therapy and Therapeutic/Adaptive Yoga
A variety of gentle interventions are used to enhance and encourage the body’s ability to reduce pain, heal, and relax. Modalities offered include acupressure, biosonic repatterning, polarity, reflexology, visualization, massage therapy and body work. Additional benefits include reduced anxiety, a greater sense of well-being, and a better balance of life energy.
Adaptive Yoga follows the same principles as traditional yoga but also provides the participant specific instruction in the use of props and modifications for poses. There is also the provision of unconditional respect and positive support for the person as they learn how to listen to their body and find their personal path to balance between the mind-body-spirit.
Therapeutic Yoga (TY) uses 16 restorative (supported) yoga poses, gentle yoga, breath work, guided meditation and hands-on healing to help individuals nurture their bodies, allowing health and wellness to blossom. It is a gentle and safe way to encourage balance in the body and mind.
Benefits of Complementary Therapy, Therapeutic and Adaptive Yoga can include: deep relaxation and rejuvenation; assistance in dissolving “stuck” emotions, trauma, disease, tension; better posture/alignment; improved self-awareness; better sleep; enhanced connection of the mind and body to restore wholeness; reduction and management of stress, pain and inflammation; support for the immune, cardiovascular, pulmonary and digestive systems.
Intergenerational Group (CARE)
The intergenerational program was developed in conjunction with the Montessori Children’s Center on Burke’s campus. CARE provides opportunities for patients with physical disabilities to be involved in recreational activities with participating children.
One-to-one and group activities include story time, music, crafts, games, art, and horticulture. In addition to enhancing positive feelings, self-esteem and body image, adults and children have the opportunity to build relationships and foster socialization skills.
Burke offers general recreation programs which may be therapeutic, such as entertainment, social programs, horticulture activities, music, games, crafts and a variety of other activities. These programs are available during the late afternoon, evenings and weekends, after therapy has ended for the day. Family and friends are invited to participate with the patient. In addition, the TR department offers a range of "in-room" resources for our patients which include a movie library, music library, games, books on tape and specialized adolescent-oriented resources. Burke has several patient areas dedicated to leisure, such as our library, computer areas, atrium, Harris Parlor, greenhouse, and a rec room on our Brain Injury Unit with basketball, air hockey, two computers, a variety of games and a flat screen TV.
Burke's Therapeutic Recreation Department also organizes adaptive sports events throughout the year including a First Swing Adaptive Golf Clinic and hand cycling clinics. In 2013, Burke's Therapeutic Recreation Department launched its Adaptive Water Skiing Clinic. Check out the video below of one of the participants at the inaugural Adaptive Water Skiing Clinic.