WHAT IS Therapeutic Recreation?

Improving Health. Maximizing Well-Being.

Therapeutic recreation is a person-centered healthcare profession that employs evidence-informed leisure and recreation interventions to improve and maximize health, physical function, social and emotional well-being and overall quality of life. Therapeutic recreation practitioners focus on people’s interests and strengths and are dedicated to working collaboratively with individuals to assess and plan interventions that will help them reach their goals, increase their wellness, independence, level of social connection and involvement in community.

scope of practice

Recreation therapists use personalized, planned and purposeful recreation and leisure activities as interventions to:

  • Develop physical, cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual skills
  • Facilitate practice of these skills in real life situations in the community
  • Facilitate and guide a positive appreciation of leisure experiences
  • Facilitate expression of positive emotions
  • Support an individual’s achievement of rehabilitation and health goals
  • Assist in the development of sustained and positive lifestyle changes through recreation activities
standards of practice

As allied health professionals, recreation therapists follow standards of practice:

  • Conduct client assessments
  • Develop intervention plans and participate in client care planning
  • Develop and implement recreation and leisure programs
  • Document and report on client progress
  • Evaluate client outcomes
  • Stay current with education and research
  • Collaborate with other disciplines
  • Practice ethically ensuring the rights and safety of clients
  • Demonstrate inclusion and respect diversity
practice areas

Recreation therapists work with children, youth, adults and older adults in a variety of settings including:

  • Mental health and substance use services
  • Physical rehabilitation services
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care homes
  • Assisted living and supportive housing
  • Adult day centres
  • Correctional facilities
  • Community programs
  • Private practices
  • Adapted and adventure programs
code of ethics

Therapeutic recreation practitioners follow ethical principles:

  • Act with integrity, honesty, and transparency
  • Commit to the safety and well-being of individuals served
  • Receive informed consent for therapeutic recreation services
  • Maintain the privacy and confidentiality of individuals served
  • Provide quality service based on the highest professional standards
  • Practice mutual respect and work cooperatively for the benefit of those served
  • Practice professional and moral conduct in dealing with ethical issues
  • Practice continued quality management to improve the profession’s ability to serve society
  • Seek to improve the profession’s body of knowledge through ethical research and clinical teaching