IntroductionTherapeutic recreation focuses on the provision of recreation and leisure services for people who have disabilities or as a means of preventing conditions that would lead to disabilities by maintaining health. During therapeutic recreation, the treatment provided is fashioned to rehabilitate the functioning that has been impaired from either acquired or congenial disabilities. Recreational activities, drama, art leisure activities and music are some of the tools applied in the treatment of the patients.
This paper gives a critique of a method referred to as reminiscence therapy, a form of therapeutic recreation applied to elderly citizens. It looks at its relevance from a clinical point of view and the role that nurses and recreational therapists play during this mode of treatment. Also to be considered is the effect this treatment has on both the patients and the facilitators as well. Two articles will be used in this critical review. Literature review and critique of the first article The article Meet the elders: reminiscence links past and present is an article that was written after an in depth study lasting for two months was carried out on Taiwanese elderly citizens to develop an understanding of the process of reminiscence and the roles that the nurses played in fostering the therapy process. Reminiscence therapy utilizes a process of delving into past experiences through the use of triggers in order to facilitate pleasure, quality of life or adaptation to present circumstances (Dochterman & Bulechek, 2003).
This form of therapy is considered effective in the treatment and prevention of depression compared to the use of medications, which in addition to posing health risks may not address the underlying causes (Stinson & Kirk 2006). This article carried out the reminiscence therapy on ten elderly patients who resided in a nursing home and who were perceived as likely to engage ion the reminiscence process. Different triggers were used based on the information that had been provided by the patient’s history from medical records or family members and the reactions that were elicited from the patients were noted or recorded after the researcher interviewed the patients on his/ her reaction (Chao et al., 2008). From this study, the researchers were able to come up with the results that reminiscence occurs in four stages as well as giving an insight on the various roles that nurses and therapists play during this process. Critique This study was effective in giving an insight into the interactions that usually happen between the patients and the nurse during the reminiscence therapy. The application of this type of therapy in a clinical setting is effective as it has recognized that participation is an ultimate goal in therapeutic recreation and has fashioned the reminiscence therapy to facilitate for this. This therapy session although carried on an individual basis, also incorporates the nursing home residents and family members if they were available.
Generally recreational therapists are expected to custom make their treatment for each patient individually. This is done through formulating plans that will address the areas for intervention, implementing the treatment plan, documenting the progress and evaluating the effectiveness of the interventions. This is exactly what was achieved by the reminiscence therapy (Chao et al., 2008). It is a very individual process, which considered the perspectives, ethnic backgrounds and the personal history of each participant, which enabled the researcher to use personalized triggers for each individual patient. Literature review and critique of the second article The second article Facilitating Reminiscence Groups: Perceptions of Group Leaders talks of the study that was conducted to find out what perceptions leaders who facilitated reminiscence groups had (Christensen et al.
, 2006). This was done after noting the little research work that has been done based on group leaders who facilitate reminiscence groups. Generally not many people want to get involved in taking care of aged people mainly due to the stereotypes that surround this group of people and the added fact that this work is very demanding and complicated (Corey & Corey, 2002). The study involved the residents of a long-term care facility, leaders who consisted of doctoral students whose experiences as group leaders varied from 1-11 years. The last group comprised of the researchers made up of faculty members and doctoral students.
Data was collected by the primary researcher for each group through observation of the group sessions, an individual interview with the leaders and finally through focus group discussions (Christensen et al., 2006). After analysis of the data, group culture emerged as the concept, which described the perceptions that the leaders had in co leading the reminiscence groups. Critique To begin with, the researchers’ use of research questions that address aspects related to doctoral students makes this journal worth reading and applicable in the clinical field.
Highlighting the steps that are required by the leaders in planning to work with elderly clients gives the group leaders an idea of what they should bear in mind before dealing with the elderly and therefore ensure that the group sessions are productive. These steps are crucial in enabling one to acquire requirements highlighted in this article that ensure effective facilitation and these are gaining skills in democratic leadership style with the others being flexibility and patience. This article also gives the leaders list on what they thought were the main topics the elders tend to talk about. This list is important as it will enable therapists to prepare themselves on how to effectively deal with the situations presented to them.
What this study accomplished is that it gave an insight on the rewarding nature that reminiscence therapy has in group sessions on the patients but in particular to the group leaders. It has proved that stereotypes people have about working with the elderly can be reversed if they spend time with them and get to learn about their lives. The leaders in this study expressed a change in attitude, perception and behavior as they worked with the elderly.
Therapists get to acquire skills in adaptability and flexibility as well as being more relaxed and learning how to listen closely (Christensen et al., 2006). Of importance is the leadership skills, interventions and techniques the leaders learnt for effective group facilitation. These include use of a slow pace, flexibility with group process issues and being prepared and accepting distractions. This article is worth reading by therapists because it helps them better themselves as therapists by learning leadership skills and techniques. It also helps them realize that therapy is about the patient and with time one learns to be compassionate ad put themselves into the shoes of the elderly.
With time this form of group leadership also sharpens the leader’s skills as one finds that they are able to come up with solutions for particular situations spontaneously. Conclusion The two articles are very informative as they give an insight as to what the benefits of reminiscence as a form of recreational therapy are. They detail the benefits this form of therapy has on both the patients and group leaders who facilitate it. in the first article the role nurses play is highlighted and this is similar to the role played by the group leaders. Reminiscence can occur at any time as the nurses take care of the patients and therefore they require the same skills as those of the group leaders in the second article. The articles also link in that the process used in the individual reminiscence therapy in the first article can also be applied in-group reminiscence therapy.
Clinically the information provided in the two articles is very helpful. This information helps us realize a way in which we can minimize depression in the nursing homes and also enables us to be better therapists. REFERENCESChristensen, T. M., Hulse-Killacky, D., Salgado Jr.
, R. A., Thornton, M. D., and Miller, J. L.
, (2006) ‘ Facilitating Reminiscence Groups: Perceptions of Group Leaders’, The Journal for Specialists in Group. Retrieved on April 3, 2010 from http://www. informaworld. com/smpp/title~content= t713658627Chao, S-Y., Chen, C-R., Liu, H-Y.
, and Clark, M., (2008) Meet the real elders: reminiscence links past and present. Journal of Clinical Nursing. Hoboken, NJ. Blackwell publishing