Category Archives: Geriatrics

HR 626

Hello Older Adult Section!

How can you influence federal legislation and regulation to positively impact consumers and the practice of RT?

Track HR 626

Join  an  advocacy force for the long term and post-acute care profession. AHCA is dedicated to giving care providers the information they need to advocate both on Capitol Hill and in their statehouses.  With our tools, resources and how-to guides, it’s easy speak out, stay informed and take action on issues affecting long term and post-acute care.

2017 Public Policy Priorities

  1. Monitor legislative action on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  2. Monitor potential action on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
  3. Reintroduce the Inpatient Rehabilitation Act directing CMS to acknowledge recreational therapy within inpatient rehabilitation settings
  4. Develop and implement a Legislative Summit in Washington DC for ATRA members
  5. Expand partnerships and collaborative relationships with national organizations
  6. Monitor federal legislation in skilled nursing, behavioral health, community, inpatient rehabilitation, veteran services, and schools

Keep up to date one ATRAs Public Policy Page:

Some easy Do’s and Don’ts:

 Don’t share talking points sheet with representatives

  • Don’t make things up
  • Do share stories
  • Do turn off cell phone
  • Do follow up regarding any additional information requested
  • Do send thank you email

Melissa Long, CTRS, DPG
Older Adult Section Co-Chair

Mild Cognitive Impairment: What is it and how can we contribute?

Per the Mayo Clinic:

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more-serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

If you have mild cognitive impairment, you may be aware that your memory or mental function has “slipped.” Your family and close friends also may notice a change. But generally these changes aren’t severe enough to significantly interfere with your day-to-day life and usual activities.

Mild cognitive impairment may increase your risk of later progressing to dementia, caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions. But some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worse, and a few eventually get better.

Individuals with dementia still need to meet the basic needs of physical and cognitive engagement. Non pharmacological approaches are the best treatment to start with. That is where we as therapists come into the equation. Without engagement it can lead to many of the behaviors we witness on a daily basis. Bringing in initialized patient centered care leads to improved quality of life. Please read below for more details into Recreational Activities to Reduce Behavioral Symptoms in Dementia:

With mild cognitive impairment it is important to promote independence, engagement with meaning, and positive interaction.

Interventions for promoting independence



ADL skill training

Activity planning

Assistive technology

Adaptive aids (including low-level technology) and environmental modifications


Exercise/promoting mobility

Rehabilitation programs for people with dementia

Combining interventions

Older Adults Section Update

Now that ATRA’s annual conference is in our rearview mirror, it’s time to move forward with work on the goals that we have for RT with older adults this year.  We would like to thank Courtney and Angie for their hard work the past few years as section leads.

Laura E. Kelly, MS, CTRS and I have been voted into the vacant co-section chair positions.  We look forward to working with you and supporting to bring recreational therapy to all older adults.
We were very happy with the turnout at the annual conference this year and look forward to an even larger turn out in Orlando 2017. Laura, Claire and I want to thank those of you who came and spoke to us at the conference and expressed interest in being more active with older adults. We want to provide all section members the opportunity to be a part of fast moving world of older adults in ATRA. To do this we have put together a survey (7 questions) we would like to have all of you answer.
We want to bring you more opportunities to learn, grow, and market recreational therapy for older adults. There is a need and hunger for our services on multiple levels from the community and practitioners. Working as a group we can provide our older adults with the quality of life we all wish for them and also expand services to as many people as possible.
With regard to our section leadership, we are in need of the following:
1.    Older Adult Public Policy Leader/Committee (help with the communication between our section and the ATRA public policy team)
2.    Older Adult Research Committee Leader/Committee (help with the communication between our section and the ATRA research committee)
3.    Someone (or a couple) interested in writing an ATRA newsletter article on a topic (innovative, new, or evidence based)
4.    Open Mic night Leader: (help with setting up educational based – teleconferences for the section)
Please let myself or Laura know if you are interested. We will be here to support you throughout the process.I would like to share our PowerPoint presentation from the conference, and handouts that go along with the ppt, which includes the current needs and trends that are related to our section.
*    Best Practices Example: More than Child’s Play: Doll/Stuffed Animal Therapy
*    The Montreal Cognitive Assessment MoCA is a brief cognitive screening tool for Mild Cognitive Impairment
*    Literature: Decreasing Patient Agitation Using Individualized Therapeutic Activities
*    Best Practices Example: Individualized Music
*    Music: The Positive Effects of Music on Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients
*    Talking Points from CTRS to Administration
*    Physician Order for Recreation Therapy Services Request (Referral for CTRS Intervention 2)
As highlighted in the ppt, the most current needs/trends related to our section are:
*    Communication template for CTRS use across multiple settings
*    Protocols for disturbing behaviors
*    Student development outreach efforts within the Older Adult Section
*    Update on the creation of a Practice- Based model for RT vs Activity Services within SNF/AL settings
Melissa Long, CTRS, DPG

IMPACT act of 2014: Public Comment Period Extended

Public Comment: Collection of Standardized Assessment-Based Data Items

CMS is soliciting for public comment on a collection of standardized assessment-based data items developed under the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act) to meet the domains of: cognitive function and mental status; special services, treatments, and interventions; medical conditions and co-morbidities; and impairments. Standardized assessment-based data items were developed for the Long-Term Care Hospital, the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, the Skilled Nursing Facility, and the Home Health Agency settings. CMS is seeking public comment on the whether items have the potential for improving quality, the utility of the items for describing case mix, the feasibility of the items for use in post-acute care settings, and the validity of the items. This call for public comment is open from August 12th through September 12th , 2016. For more information, visit the Public Comment webpage.

February’s Leadership Thought

Any great and inspiring leader or organization that ever existed set out to do something completely unrealistic. ATRA’s mission is to “Empower Recreational Therapists” and our vision is “A world where every person has access to Recreational Therapy”.  What do you think?  Are those unrealistic goals?  Are those idealistic dreams that we will never accomplish?  Continue reading February’s Leadership Thought

Reflections: Why am I still in this field and why do I remain passionate about what I do?

I do not know if I chose this profession or if it chose me. I think we both chose each other. I have never really thought about it that much. Continue reading Reflections: Why am I still in this field and why do I remain passionate about what I do?

Discounted Membership!

Survey results tell us that members join ATRA because someone invited them. We know that ATRA is important to members and to our profession because you tell us!  As an ATRA member, you experience the value your membership brings. Now is the perfect time to share your professional successes by encouraging your non-member friends and colleagues to join ATRA. Continue reading Discounted Membership!