The vanishing need for activity professionals

Guest blogger Jonathan Rosenfeld posted a great interview recently with Kimberly Grandal, founder and executive director of Re-Creative Resources Inc., a long-term care therapeutic recreation and activities consultant/educator. With more than 15 years of experience working with elders—and numerous accreditations to her name—Grandal should be considered an expert in long-term care activities, which is why her response to one of Rosenfeld’s questions is so troubling.

Rosenfeld asked Grandal, “What are some negative trends (if any) in the nursing home industry?”

Here is Grandal’s full response:

I see more and more facilities adopting the culture change movement, which in theory is a wonderful approach to care. With this trend, however, I also hear more and more stories that certified and qualified activity professionals and recreational therapists are being replaced by the “universal worker.” Often times you’ll see more domestic type activities in these culture change homes, which is fine for some residents, but not for all—I fear that we will abolish the field of therapeutic activities and recreation in long-term care based on the assumption that uncertified, unqualified individuals can facilitate meaningful activities.

Does the advent of culture change truly spell doom for activity professionals? We’ll most certainly try to get Grandal’s answer to this question, possibly in a future guest editorial of Long-Term Living. Until then, debate Grandal’s argument in the comments section, or send me your thoughts on the job security of activity professionals.

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