Katie is passionate about the important role leisure and recreation plays in a client’s overall well-being and feels lucky to work with a strong team of Recreation Therapists at VCH who are making an impact in the community. “From the first day, I have felt welcomed, supported, and respected. I work closely with the case managers to develop strategies to support our joint clients and I love that we effectively and respectfully work together while each offering unique perspectives,” says Katie, Recreation Therapist on the North Shore Older Adult Mental Health Team.
In her role, she works with clients’ and their caregivers, who are living in the community and are experiencing age-related changes such as dementia. Many clients are also struggling with mental health challenges like anxiety and depression and as a result, are often very isolated. “I work with clients on their goals by utilizing leisure and recreation as an intervention to reduce barriers, support them in re-connecting to their community, socialize, and participate in activities that improve their quality of life,” says Katie.
She loves how recreation therapy utilizes a strengths-based approach and she feels fortunate that her role allows her to focus on the person first. “I get to have fun with my clients! I focus on what brings them joy and what they are passionate about, not on their illness or disability.” Katie is continually inspired by her clients who are facing many changes and losses, yet continue to work hard to overcome barriers. She is also inspired by her dedicated colleagues who work tirelessly to support the mental health of many older adults on the North Shore.
Katie describes how she incorporates the VCH Values (We Care for Everyone, We Are Always Learning, and We Strive for Better Results) in her everyday interactions with her team, her clients, and their families. “I approach them and their experiences from a place of kindness and compassion. I want to make sure they feel supported and cared for and that their choices and wishes are honored and respected. With my colleagues, I tell them how grateful I am for their support and for sharing their expertise and knowledge with me as I learn.”
For more information about our recreation careers and the opportunity to improve clients’ social and leisure functions, visit: careers.vch.ca