Recreation Therapy - John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan
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John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Detroit, Michigan

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Recreation Therapy

Mission Statement

The mission of recreation therapy, a direct-care interdisciplinary service, is to improve and enrich bio-psycho-social functioning through active therapy and/or meaningful therapeutic activities to maintain or improve functional independence and life quality. The intended outcome of the service is independence in life activities based upon patient/resident needs and goals.

The mission is accomplished through the professional skills of Therapists, Specialists and Assistants through a four-step process of assessment, planning, intervention/activity implementation, and evaluation of services delivered.

Vision Statement

To provide an activity based patient-centered service that integrates function, quality, and meaning to one's life.

Recreation Therapist

Recreation Therapists perform professional work requiring application of knowledge of the concepts, principles and practices of recreation therapy and the use of various interventions to treat physical, social, cognitive, emotional conditions associated with illness, or chronic disability, preventing secondary health conditions, enhancing independent living skills, and overall quality of life.

These therapists evaluate history, interests, aptitudes, and skills of patients by interviews, inventories, tests, and measurements, and use such findings, along with medical records, and therapy orders of physicians, to develop and implement recreation therapy activities for individual patients. These several therapy approaches are directed toward achieving such therapeutic objectives as achieving and maintaining optimal levels of independence, productivity, and well-being, and enter/re-enter the mainstream of community life.

Location of Service in Medical Center:

Therapeutic Recreation is located in 2 separate areas of the hospital; The Community Living Centers and Mental Health as well as facilitating community adaptive sport and recreation opportunities at the Detroit VAMC. Recreation Therapist are also advisors to clinics, as needed; TBI, VIST.

Community Living Centers

The Community Living Centers (CLC) goal of care is to restore function, prevent decline, maximize independence, and/or provide comfort at the end of life. The direction of care can be long term, short term, sub-acute, or hospice services. The focus in the CLC is to achieve and maintain optimal physical, psychosocial, and functional status while minimizing dependency. The CLC is governed by the Planetree Model of Care, which puts the Veterans and their needs first.

Mental Health

Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) is an outpatient multidisciplinary treatment program that provides mental health services for veterans suffering from severe and persistent mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective mood disorder, bipolar disorder, major affective disorder, and PTSD) with significant functional impairment.

Transitions Program is a recovery-orientated, intensive outpatient psychiatric treatment program

Inpatient psychiatric services consist of a locked unit that provides short-term multidisciplinary psychiatric care to patients who experience an acute phase of mental illness.

Community Adaptive Sport and Recreation

Clinics, events and adaptive sports opportunities available on an intermittent basis at this time. Opportunities will be posted to the Detroit VAMC Facebook page and on the message boards and televisions within the VA.

Complementary and Integrative Therapy - Empowering Wellness

Recreation Therapists at the Detroit VAMC are trained to offer complementary and integrative therapy interventions for Veterans.

Along with the CTRS credential, Recreation Therapists are:

  • Certified Clinical Aromatherapists
  • Healing Touch Practitioners

Recreation Therapy Internship Information

Internship Overview
Therapeutic Recreation Internship Application Process

Motown Team – National Golden Age Games (NVGAG)

Recreation Therapists at the Detroit VAMC are actively involved as coaches and therapist for the Detroit based; Motown Golden Age Games Team. NVGAG is the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States, and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Participating Veterans are 55 years or older, enrolled in VA health Care and compete in either the ambulatory, visually impaired or wheelchair divisions. The Detroit Motown Team members are committed to lead a healthy lifestyle and train year round.

National Golden Age Game Website

For more information about participating or supporting the Detroit, Motown Team; Contact Carrie Drobek via email at or call (313)576-4760.

Contact information:

Rehabilitation Coordinator: Esther Reynolds – x64555
Recreation Therapy Staff:

  • Kelly Cousino CTRS – x61217
  • Carrie Drobek CTRS – x64760
  • Maureen McDonald CTRS – x65749

Hours of Operation:

Recreation Therapy provided programming:
Community Living Center - Monday and Wednesday 8:00 am - 7:30 pm and Tuesday and Thursday, Thursday through Sunday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Mental Health - Monday through Friday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm


VA Adaptive Sport Programs and VA National Events Website
Oakland County Parks & Recreation (Detroit designated Adaptive Sports Club)
NCTRC (National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification)
ATRA (American Therapeutic Recreation Association)
MTRA (Michigan Therapeutic Recreation Association)

Contact Info


  • The Community Living Centers and Mental Health as well as facilitating community adaptive sport and recreation opportunities at the Detroit VAMC.

Contact Number(s)

  • 313-576-1000

Hours of Operation

  • Community Living Center / Mental Health / Recreation Therapy
    days and times vary