“My ability is stronger than my disability” is the American Therapeutic Recreation Association’s theme during International Recreation Therapy month. We also want to recognize our own recreation therapists. Whether it's horseback riding, creating art or playing a board game, each day they work hard to create connections with patients and provide them with the necessary tools and skill set to successfully navigate their communities once they leave Madonna.
"Our mission here is just to really fully participate in life. It’s what we’re here for," said Occupational Therapists Cara Bassinger, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals.
Here to help spend time with horses or create works of art, Madonna recreation therapists work hard to safely reintroduce patients back to their passions, life roles and the communities where they live and work.
"Helping them see the world is still out there. They’re in the hospital so focused on their recovery that they sometimes forget about that part of their life. And it really helps them to see what they can do again,” said Linda Ohnoutka, a recreation therapist.
“There goes William on the bicycle.”
"How can we help them gain that confidence for when they leave the hospital but also if they encounter any obstacles or any barriers how can we help them with that but also provide them with enjoyment and fun even after an injury," said Jessie Eveland, a recreation therapist.
Throughout recovery, therapists sprinkle in fun and socialization both inside and outside hospital walls. Empowering patients and their caregivers to successfully navigate their surroundings by providing them the necessary tools and skill set to carry that over.
"Showing the patients all the opportunities there are out there so that they can be comfortable and be successful when they’re going out and about. Learning about okay now I need to find a curb cut because I can’t go up a curb I have to learn to get through the doorways. Do I need automatic. Or do I need help opening the doors?" said Linda.
“My favorite game with Kristin was SORRY!” said Ulises Ornelas, a former pediatric patient.
"Cause you always won, right?" said Kristin Luethke, a recreation therapist.
“Yes,” said Ulises.
"Patients can experience hopefully having fun doing an activity but when we’re bowling we can be working on that standing balance, that core strength or that upper extremity movement that they may be weaker on one side,” said Jessie.
"The appreciation they have, thanking the staff after the outing. And sometimes they’ll continue doing the activities when they leave here," said Linda.
Madonna has a robust Adaptive Sports and Recreation program for children and adults of all abilities. Participants try new sports and recreation opportunities at their comfort level and explore new ways of doing previous activities.