Recreation and art therapy axed in B.C., called a “disturbing trend” – Disability – elimination of hospitals’ recreational, art therapy programmes in British Columbia

Recreation and art therapy axed in B.C., called a “disturbing trend” – Disability – elimination of hospitals’ recreational, art therapy programmes in British Columbia – Brief Article

VANCOUVER — A decision by St. Paul’s Hospital to end its Therapeutic Recreation and Expressive Arts Program is part of a disturbing trend toward eliminating programs that improve health outcomes and quality of life, therapists say.

The program has provided recreation therapy and music therapy to seniors, the terminally ill, patients in intensive care, and those with eating disorders. It is one of a number of therapeutic programs that have been cut or eliminated as health authorities struggle with government budget cuts, said Jeanne Meyers, Executive Director of the Health Sciences Association of BC.

Meyers’ union represents 145 recreation therapists and 46 music therapists around the province.

The benefits of music therapy include pain management, improved information retrieval for those with dementia and reduced stress, said Susan Summers, past-president of the Music Therapy Association of BC. Recreation therapy can assist the healing process and help patients cope with illness and disability, said Joan Surinak from the BC Therapeutic Recreation Association.

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