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How long do you work with a patient as a recreational therapist?

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Medical Professional

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with recreational therapist Allison Huck:


Being that I provide consulting service, I don't typically see patients like the day they're admitted. I pick patients up as soon as I can on my caseload. Once I get orders, depending on the patient and their need, that might be within a day or two of them being admitted and sometimes maybe they're not at the level where they're ready for extra therapy. Maybe they're not even tolerating what they've got at that point, so I might see them a few weeks into their admission. I typically see patients after a brain injury until the point when they're discharged, so that might be just a few days or it might just be enough time for me to get in there to do some education and make sure they go home with some resources. I've seen people for a little over a year before. it really depends, and I think a lot of people know that insurance can drive some of that. I see them as long as I possibly can and I very often keep in contact with patients and families after they go home.


The duration of the time that I work with families is dependent on a mix of both insurance and the severity of the injury, as well as the trajectory of their progress while they're in rehab. There's a lot of factors at play. Severe injuries typically take longer to rehab, and less severe injuries typically take less time to rehab. By “to rehab”, I mean people go home when they're safe to go home. That’s ultimately our goal as a team, where we're all working on our separate pieces together to get patients and families to the point where it's safe to go home and they can continue rehab from that point. I work with people in all different kinds of phases of their recovery for a few days to almost a year as frequently as they will tolerate. So if they tolerate therapy five days a week and I've got time to do it, I'm going to see that patient five days a week. If they're not, then I might see them less at the beginning stages of rehab. When they're tolerating more therapy and more time out of bed, so when they're able to do a little bit more, we might ramp it up and see them a little more frequently.