Recreation Therapy

Horizon’s recreation therapists are health care professionals who work in hospital and outpatient services to improve, maintain, and prevent decline in a patient’s overall health, while enhancing their well-being and quality of life.

Recreation therapists work with patients and their circle of care, to provide patient-centred care using leisure-based interventions.

Recreation therapists provide supervision and direction to activity workers who work as part of the care team.

What we do

  • We understand and acknowledge our patients through their “life story” respecting their values, preferences, and cultural/spiritual beliefs.
  • We assess a person’s strengths, needs, interests, medical condition, social history, legal status, ethnic values, and the context in which they occur to create an individualized treatment plan.
  • We focus on a patient’s cognitive, physical, emotional, and social strengths while addressing their individual needs and offer interventions that are purposeful, meaningful and based on their individual assessment.
  • We develop a treatment plan that is patient-centred utilizing interventions to achieve goal-oriented, and research-based outcomes.

Benefits of participating in recreation therapy

Source: Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association

Therapeutic recreation cognitive benefits

  • Improved problem-solving skills
  • Increased attention span
  • Improved memory
  • Goal-setting skills
  • Improved time-management skills
  • Improved cognition levels

Therapeutic recreation emotional benefits

  • Fosters positive experience
  • Decreasing symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression
  • Increased sense of belonging
  • Improved self-confidence
  • Decreases loneliness, boredom, and expressive behaviours

Therapeutic recreation physical benefits

  • Balance
  • Find + gross motor skills
  • Coordination
  • Strength
  • Range of motion
  • Improved sleep

Therapeutic recreation social benefits

  • Decreased social isolation
  • Develop/maintain social skills
  • Strengthens social connections
  • Increased community involvement

How recreation therapy is offered

Treatment sessions involve individual, small and/or large groups. Interventions may include but not limited to: 

  • leisure counselling
  • physical activities including exercises, dance, and movement
  • cooking
  • games/card games or puzzles 
  • accessing and utilizing technology
  • creative activities including creative writing or journaling
  • mindfulness and relaxation
  • individualized music programs
  • gardening and nature
  • community integration
  • membership in clubs/organizations or volunteering


  • What are the things that are important to you?
  • What are your goals? What do you want to achieve?
  • What are your leisure interests?
  • What does your chosen recreation participation look like? Involvement in organized sports/structured programs, opportunities for socialization, enjoyment and self-expression, or independent engagement.
  • How can we help you in achieving you desired goals?

Recreation therapy is provided in a variety of settings, such as Hospitals, Long-term care facilities, Rehabilitation, and Addiction and Mental Health Services. The following locations offer recreation therapy

The Moncton Hospital (TMH):

  • Geriatric Medicine (5200 unit)
  • Psychiatry Unit (3200)
  • Provincial Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit (3700)
  • Youth Wellness Unit (3100)

St. Joseph’s Hospital (SJH) in Saint John:

  • Geriatric Evaluation and Management Unit (GEM)
  • Cognitive Assessment and Management Unit (CAM)
  • Restorative Care
  • Transitional Care Units (TCU)

Saint John Regional Hospital (SJRH):

  • Acute Psychiatry (4DN)

Ridgewood Veterans Wing (RVW) in Saint John:

  • All Veterans (Victory Lane and Liberty Lane)

Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (DECRH) in Fredericton:

  • Healthy Aging and Rehabilitation Program (3NE)
  • Transitional Care Unit (4E)

Oromocto Public Hospital (OPH):

  • Med1
  • WR Duffie Unit

Hotel-Dieu of St.-Joseph in Perth-Andover:

  • Inpatient

Upper River Valley Hospital in Waterville:

  • 2N
  • 2E (special consult required)

Veterans Health Unit (VHU) in Fredericton:

  • All Veterans (Regent and Priestman)

Miramichi Regional Hospital (MRH):

  • Rehabilitation & Restorative (1 East)
  • Transition Care Unit (4 East)
  • Acute Psychiatry (1 West)
  • Addiction Services (Detox)

Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation (SCCR) in Fredericton:

  • Inpatient Adults
  • Outpatient Adults
  • Outpatients Pediatrics

Centracare in Saint John:

  • Psych Rehabilitation
  • Complex Behavioural Unit
  • Psychogeriatric Geriatric Unit

Referral from a member the of the care team or yourself on a unit that has recreation therapy services in place.


Assessment: is a clinical process during which standardized assessment tools are selected and administered to collect necessary information in creating a client intervention. The recreation therapist then interprets and analyzes the results of this process and communicates these results to key stakeholders in the assessment report.


The therapeutic recreation process, consists of:

Functional intervention: designed to address limitations that prevent the patient from improving their leisure-related awareness, knowledge, skills, abilities, and involvement.

Leisure Education: focuses on the patient developing leisure-related attitudes, self awareness, knowledge, skills, related decision-making, and awareness of leisure resources.

Recreation Participation: are organized structured programs which include opportunities for community integration, socialization, enjoyment, and self-expression.

Circle of care: includes individuals that are identified/designated by the patient who they want involved in their care and members of your health care team. These members can include family members, close friends or other caregivers, and/or the substitute decision maker (SDM). These members are active partner in care who are an essential member of the health care team and contribute to a positive patient experience and outcome.


Life Story: is more than an accounting of events in your life. It encompasses all your experiences and how they have impacted and shaped who you are today.

How to recognize a recreation therapy professional 

If you would like to recognize a member of the Recreation Therapy team, you could consider sending a Bravo!


  • “…It just made me understand and realize that his quality of life isn’t over, it’s just different, and that he will still be able to enjoy life.” – Family Member
  • “…I learned a lot how to express my feelings to other people.” – Patient
  • “Thank you for helping rediscover the calm in art.” – Patient
  • “Those techniques you suggested to make giving meds and taking blood pressures less stressful (for the patients)… I’ve been using them and it’s working.” – Horizon Staff Member
  • “Watch this (swinging arms to music)! I never thought I’d move that arm again,” – Patient
  • “It was so nice to see him up there being part of the ceremony that was so important to him…and being able to do it again, even though he can’t see.” – Family Member
  • “I can’t believe the difference in him, before he wouldn’t even get out of bed for anybody and now, he calls the nurses to get him up because he looks forward to his therapy sessions with you.” – Family Member

Recreation therapy is not intended to stop when the treatment ends but rather to expand a patient’s resources, support networks, and create links for continued participation within their homes and/or communities to improve their quality of life.

Horizon locations offering this service:

Facility Name Address Phone
Stan Cassidy Centre For Rehabilitation 800 Priestman St., Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 0C7 506-452-5225
Veterans Health Unit (Fredericton) 680 Priestman St.,, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 3B7 506-452-5034
Oromocto Public Hospital 103 Winnebago St., Oromocto, New Brunswick, E2V 1C6 506-357-4700
Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (Fredericton) 700 Priestman St. , PO Box 9000, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 3B7 506-452-5400

Facility Name Address Phone
Miramichi Regional Hospital 500 Water St., Miramichi, New Brunswick, E1V 3G5 506-623-3000

Facility Name Address Phone
The Moncton Hospital 135 MacBeath Ave., Moncton, New Brunswick, E1C 6Z8 506-857-5111

Facility Name Address Phone
Centracare 416 Bay St., Saint John, New Brunswick, E2M 7L4 506-649-2550
Ridgewood Veterans Wing (Saint John) 422 Bay Street, South Bay, c/o Saint John Regional Hospital, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L 4L2 506-635-2420
St. Joseph's Hospital (Saint John) 130 Bayard Dr., Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L 3L6 506-632-5555
Saint John Regional Hospital 400 University Ave., Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L 4L2 506-648-6000

Facility Name Address Phone
Hotel-Dieu of St. Joseph (Perth-Andover) 10 Woodland Hill, Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, E7H 5H5 506-273-7100
Upper River Valley Hospital (Waterville) 11300 Route 130, Waterville, New Brunswick, E7P 0A4 506-375-5900