Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services
Recreation Therapy Service
. . . Changing Lives through Recreation Therapy and Creative Arts Therapies
The Recreation Therapy Service is responsible for national policies related to Recreation Therapy and the Creative Arts Therapies (art, dance, drama, and music). The Service collaborates and cooperates with other services within the VHA and community partner organizations. These efforts promote and ensure an exceptional level of care and high quality services for all Veterans as reflected in the I-CARE Core Values. The service coordinates programs and services for VHA Recreation Therapists and Creative Arts Therapists to enhance and improve their knowledge, skill, and ability. Through these efforts, the Service reaffirms the mission.
The Mission of the Recreation Therapy Service, a direct-care interdisciplinary service, is to improve and enrich bio-psycho-social functioning through active therapy and/or meaningful therapeutic activities to maintain or improve functional independence and life quality. The intended outcome of the state of art evidence-based clinical interventions is independence in life activities based upon patient/residents needs and goals.
To provide therapy based patient-centered service that integrates function, quality, and meaning to one's life.
The service embraces a philosophy of health promotion and disease prevention facilitated by qualified clinicians to enhance physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure development that support each Veteran’s self-directed, self-determined, and fully independent participation in their chosen life pursuits.
Recreation Therapy/Creative Arts services are provided throughout the VHA healthcare system. Services are provided for individuals and groups in acute, residential, outpatient, home based, and telehealth settings.
Recreation therapy is individualized to each person, their past, present and future interests and lifestyle. The recreation therapist has a unique perspective regarding the social, cognitive, physical, and leisure needs of the Veteran. Recreation therapists weave the concept of healthy living into treatment to improve functioning, and enhance independence and successful involvement in all aspects of life.
Creative Arts Therapy is the use of arts - visual arts, dance, music, drama, and other media - materials, methods, modalities, and techniques through the creative process for therapeutic purposes. (Learn more...)
Current research indicates a significant number of positive health outcomes resulting from participation in recreation therapy and creative arts therapy programs. As a health care provider, evidence based outcomes are critical to the viability of these therapies and the specific health outcomes that are a result of these interventions.
Recreation therapists are standard treatment team members in rehabilitation services.
In addition, recreation therapists are designated as treatment team members (based upon need) in the acute brain injury, the post-acute brain injury, and the inpatient rehabilitation standards of the commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
The centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services includes recreation therapy in the mix of treatment and rehabilitation services used to determine federal compliance in skilled nursing, rehabilitation (physical and psychiatric), and long term care facilities.
Recreation Therapy serves Veterans across the continuum of care including Tele-Rehabilitation.
Recreation Therapy serves as an integral member of interdisciplinary patient treatment teams.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services includes recreation therapy in the mix of treatment and rehabilitation services used to determine federal compliance in skilled nursing, rehabilitation (physical and psychiatric), and long term care facilities.
Recreation Therapy is woven within the compliance standards for Joint Commission and for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Recreation Therapy Organizations
- American Therapeutic Recreation Association
- National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification
National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events
Each year, VA sponsors six national events for U.S. military Veterans served by VA medical facilities nationwide. Each program enhances the physical, psycho-social, and emotional well-being of Veterans who participate. Veterans involved in these events and the hundreds of VA employees and volunteers who support them each year all share a strong sense of purpose and camaraderie.
Each national event increases awareness of the therapeutic value of recreation, sports, or the creative arts. The events are co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Veterans’ Service Organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Adaptive Sports Grants Program
The Adaptive Sports Grant Program is facilitated and managed by the National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events Office (NVSP&SE). The mission of the NVSP&SE office is to provide opportunities for Veterans to improve their independence, well-being, and quality of life through adaptive sports and therapeutic arts programs. VA awards grants to qualifying organizations to plan, develop, manage, and implement programs to provide adaptive sports opportunities for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces as authorized under 38 United States Code 521A.
Learn more about the NVSP&SE office in the NVSP&SE Fact Sheet
Learn more about Recreation Therapy/ Creative Arts at the Department of Veterans Affairs
- About Us / Contact Us
- Who We Serve / How We Serve
- VA Recreation Therapy / Creative Arts Therapy
- Medical Condition/Population Served
- Fact Sheets
- VA Recreation Therapy and Creative Arts Therapy Careers