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Leisure Skills After a Brain Injury

The focus of therapeutic recreation is on exploring leisure activities, introducing patients to adaptive leisure equipment, helping patients manage leisure time, and introducing them to leisure resources available in their hometowns. The purpose of these sessions is to help patients in adjusting to new lifestyles that may follow impairments from a brain injury.

A therapeutic recreation specialist will meet with the patient and/or a family member to discuss leisure interests, and the lifestyle pursued before the brain injury occurred. The therapist will discuss how the injury may affect future activities. A treatment plan is developed. Our goal is to give patients the tools they need to return to a fulfilling lifestyle.

Family Involvement

Family members are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities. They will have an opportunity to learn about available resources, and skills needed to help the patient in returning to an active lifestyle.

Water Activities/Swimming

A therapeutic pool is available for patients interested in water-related activities. A therapeutic recreation specialist will help patients re-learn swim skills, teach water safety, and work on improving the their general level of fitness.

Community Activities

Patients are encouraged to attend therapeutic outings in the Grand Rapids area. These outings are designed to teach patients the functional, and social skills needed to successfully return to community activities after leaving Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Transportation to and from these activities, as well as any needed funds, are provided by the hospital. Through involvement in these outings, patients will feel more confident about re-entering the community.

Recreation Equipment

Therapeutic recreation has a variety of adaptive leisure equipment. Patients may sign out equipment though their therapeutic recreation specialist.


During hospitalization, patients have access many DVD movies, at no charge, through nursing staff or the nursing supervisor. See your nursing staff for details.

Computer Use

A computer is available for patient use in the 3-West Social Area through nursing. The computer does have internet access for checking home e-mail accounts.

Pet Visitation

Patients may have their own dogs come in to visit at Mary Free Bed by coordinating this through the therapeutic recreation specialist. Patients must supply proof of vaccinations and complete forms before visitation. The second-floor Recreation Room may be reserved for the visit.

Pet Recreation/Pet Door-to-Door Visits

On the first Tuesday and third Wednesday of each month, the West Michigan Therapy Dogs come to Mary Free Bed for social visitations. For pet recreation, the dogs gather in the social area and patients may come in to pet the dogs and socialize with the handlers. After this program is complete, one of the dogs will go from room to room to visit with patients that were unable to make the Pet Recreation Program. Those patients that are allergic to dogs or do not wish to have the dogs visit can opt out of this program.

Leisure Time Management

Patients will discuss with their therapeutic recreation specialist what they are going to do during their recovery and what activities they are interested in doing to help fill their time.

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