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What kinds of therapies were/are used during cardiac rehabilitation and how did/do they effect you?

By Anonymous February 16, 2009 - 9:18am
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During cardiac rehabilitation, I'm curious to know what kinds of therapies are used. Mostly, what kinds of interventions are done on behalf of a Recreational Therapist?

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thanks for your question, it's a really good one!

Recreational therapy is used in many aspects of health care (both physical and mental) and often (but not exclusively) focused on the Arts - using art, drama and music to enhance the emotional and mental well-being of patients and residents who are either recovering from illness or are living in a residential facility.

Art, music and drama therapy has long been used to allow a patient to express herself in a non-physical way that emphasizes mental well-being. There is an extremely calming aspect to these kinds of therapies that encourages a person to take steps towards over all healing. It also helps a patient to socialize and interact with other people, because recovery - whether at home or in a facility of some kind, can be very isolating. Recreational therapy is done both in groups and one-on-one sessions. Depending on the weather, there are trips outside, to different locations, and for shopping and entertainment (movies, concerts, cultural outings etc). Drama therapy helps with memory, memorization and creativity, as well as emotional and intellectual enjoyment, as does music therapy.

Recreational therapists can give therapy of a physical nature by leading an exercise class or ball toss, passing an item from person to person or basic yoga. Art and crafts will strengthen eye/hand coordination. All while, a recreational therapist will take both a patients strengths and challenges. All physical activities are generally approved and monitored by the medical team.

They also provide "touch" or "tactile" therapy by giving hand massages or something similar. Touch therapy has been proven to enhance the mental well-being of patients - especially those with little or no family support. The therapist will also work to integrate a patient back into the community - working alongside the families, doctors, social workers and other team members.

With regard to a recreational therapist working with a cardiac patient: the therapist will work among an interdisciplinary team, headed by the medical professionals. Depending on the capabilities and prognosis of the patient, the therapist will provide recreational activities to suit the individual needs. They may also use relaxation techniques including meditation, stretching and energy conservation techniques.

Mental exercises are vital in recreational therapy. Current events and political and social discussion classes are often held to avoid a person becoming disoriented to time, place and environment , and especially as to what's going on in the outside world. Even a week in a hospital will have a person far behind in what's happening from a news perspective so current events classes allow patients to remain in touch. Disconnect from the outside world is a key factor in depression due to isolation. A recreational therapist works to enhance the mental health of a patient, in order to enhance a physical recovery.

The therapist maintains a record of all the interactions with the patient, and follows a pretty strict plan of care, based on state regulations. Family are always a part of overall care and the therapist is a part of a larger team.

I hope this has helped. Let us know if we can help further!

February 16, 2009 - 1:08pm
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