Recreational Therapy and Child Life
UNC Hospitals has been a pioneer in providing recreational therapy programs, initiated in 1956 by the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry. In 1974, the Department of Recreational Therapy and Child Life was established to extend the service to serve other patients within the institution. Recreational therapy services are initiated by a physician order for assessment and treatment. A recreational therapist conducts an individualized assessment of the patient's physical, mental, emotional and social functioning to determine needs, interests and abilities. An individualized treatment plan is developed and implemented to reach planned treatment outcomes. The primary focus of recreational therapy is to restore or improve the patient's physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning through the use of interventions structured to reach treatment goals. Recreational Therapy staff also assist other members of the health care team to create a positive and therapeutic environment by helping patients to relieve anxieties and stress associated with hospitalization.