I have worked in healthcare for almost 30 years, the last 10 at Craig. I am a behavioral attendant in the Brain Injury department. I take care of individuals who might be just coming out of a coma or in the early stages of their recovery. They are “in a fog” and can be a danger to themselves because of their confusion.
My job is to keep patients safe, but I often play a large role in supporting family members. When a family first gets to Craig, the members are often scared and overwhelmed. I earn the family’s trust and help them understand that we are going to protect and help their loved one. I am a friend and an advocate. It’s a hard job, but so rewarding. I give the best care so that the patients can have the best outcomes.
One thing I love about Craig is that we treat the whole person, not just the physical injury. That’s why I give a portion of my paycheck to Craig’s Therapeutic Recreation department, through the Craig Foundation’s Employee Giving Campaign, so that the program can continue to offer outings and recreational opportunities to our patients. It’s so great that the therapists in that department say, “Yes, you’ve had a life-changing injury, but you’re still the same person, and you like the same things you always did—let’s go out and do stuff.” I know that the money I give to the Craig Foundation goes right back to the patients in this program, and it’s an honor to support T-Rec this way. It’s the best thing in the world to see the patients that I’ve cared for getting back into the community and finding their identity again.
From the tops of mountains to the bottom of the sea, you’ll find Craig Hospital patients and graduates exploring and being active thanks to Craig’s Therapeutic Recreation department.
The donor-funded program uses sports, recreation and leisure opportunities to re-engage patients and their families with life and meet important therapeutic goals.
Each Craig inpatient is assigned a certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CTRS) who serves as an important member of the patient’s treatment team. The therapist will evaluate the patient and suggest activities ranging from gardening, music, arts and crafts to various sports. Patients can try a variety of different activities and return to a previous interest, or find a new one.
Ongoing research and over 40 years of experience at Craig Hospital demonstrate that therapeutic recreation helps many patients make dramatic improvements in their overall functioning. When patients take part in recreation activities, they are doing more than having fun – they’re assimilating and practicing in real-life settings the skills they are learning in therapy.
At Craig, rehabilitation is more than just getting up and learning to get dressed and move in a chair. To the staff at Craig, that does not equate to a full life. We are helping people return to the passions that define them or helping them discover new ways to enjoy their lives.Tom Carr, director of Therapeutic Recreation