Not everything patients experience at Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (JPCH) in Saskatoon is both fun and helps them heal, but recreation therapy is just that.
JPCH Recreation Therapists Kelsey Luedtke and Samantha Pizzuto use play, recreation and expressive opportunities to improve the physical, mental, social, and emotional well being of child and youth patients.
Doing window drawing with patients helps foster a therapeutic relationship, helps therapists discover a patient’s interest and make their hospital room feel more like home.
“We know that providing positive experiences that help increase independence, their ability to function and their quality of life while they’re in the hospital are vital for a child’s health,” notes Luedtke.
“Often, the goal is to not only improve a patient’s physical health, but to help them develop coping skills and prevent any developmental delays that could be caused by their illness or a long hospitalization,” says Pizzuto. “We try to make their lives better overall. We help them continue to do things that they did at home, school, daycare or in the community, which helps them cope with lengthy hospitalizations.”
Recreation therapy focuses on developmental play, creative art pursuits, physical activity and social interaction opportunities. Therapists also facilitate programs such as Walkie-Talkie Bingo, Family Movie Night, MediArt and coordinate volunteer outreach programs including Saskatoon Public Library storytellers and visits from firefighters, therapy dogs, and other special guests.