Brightway Logo
Answers & Community for Brain Injury
Ask a QuestionAsk Question

How do you pick what to work on to help motivate your patients as a recreational therapist?

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Medical Professional

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


When I first meet with somebody, I always go over the basic questions everyone asked in the hospital. This includes “who are you”, “what's today”, “when's your birthday”, “why are you here” to tease out what their perception is that they're working on. Then my next set of questions is a set of questions that they may or may not have been asked before. This includes “what do you enjoy doing”, “what are you like outside the hospital”, “what is your typical day like”. I ask them all of those questions and we go over what's important to them. Of course, I always incorporate “what do you want to be able to achieve when you leave here”, “what do you want to be able to do in your free time”, and “what do you find enjoyable”, so we always try and target those things. 


Sometimes we're not even at that step yet though. Sometimes communication, attention, or mobility might be a really big barrier to participating in anything. So really using my expertise as a therapist and picking what are the things that are important to them, what are the biggest barriers, and what are the biggest things that we have to work on, tackling those in one is a really important step in choosing what we work on while we're in the hospital. Then we make sure that when they go home, they as well as their families know how they can continue to work on that progress. I'm never gonna discharge someone and say like all of their goals are met and they're good to go. It's a lifelong process for most people. We figure out what goals can we achieve in the amount of time we have together, and then what can I arm them with to continue working on their goals once they don't have me as a therapist anymore.