BA, CTRS, ACC
Kimberly Grandal, Founder
and Executive Director of Re-
Creative Resources, Inc., is a
strong advocate for the field of
Therapeutic Recreation and
Activities, with over fifteen
years of experience working
with the elderly in numerous
management and consultant
positions. She is an Activity
Consultant Certified and a
Recreation Specialist. Kim is
a member of the New Jersey
Association and the New
In 1990, Kim graduated from
William Paterson University
with a BA in Sociology and
later studied gerontology
courses at Union County
College and Therapeutic
Recreation courses at Kean
University. Throughout her
career, Kim has been the
Director of Therapeutic
Recreation for several long-
term care facilities, including
one of NJ’s largest.
In 2006, Kim founded Re-
Creative Resources Inc. She
is a speaker for various state
and local activity associations
such as NJAPA, MOCAP, and
NJACA, as well as the Society
of Licensed Nursing Home
Administrators of NJ. She
also offers lectures for Re-
Creative Resources Inc., local
colleges, and community
groups, and provides
consultation and support to
numerous facilities in the
Kim is the editor and writer for
the “The Rec-Room", a
monthly newsletter published
by her company. In addition,
she writes monthly articles for
the Activity Directors Office
newsletter, and has
contributed articles to Creative
Forecasting Magazine, and
The Continuing Care Insite
Kim is a recipient of the
Kessler Institute of
Rehabilitation 1997 Triumph
of the Human Spirit Award.
Her passion is to promote the
field of Therapeutic
Recreation and Activities and
to unite Recreation Therapists
and Activity Professionals.
Kim currently serves on the
NJAPA board as the
Chairperson for the
|THE ACTIVITY DIRECTOR'S OFFICE
Re-Creative Resources, Inc.
is committed to enhancing the
lives of long-term care
residents through the use of
Therapeutic Recreation. We
provide a variety of services
such as Therapeutic
in-services, resources, form
analysis and development,
consultation, and support for
activity professionals and
recreational therapists. A
selection of downloadable
training materials and forms
are available for your
convenience as well as a free
job posting site.
Spring Into Training!
Employee Training Tips for Recreation Directors
By Kimberly Grandal, CTRS, ACC
Executive Director, Re-Creative Resources, Inc
“All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.” - Martin H. Fischer
Providing training is one of the numerous responsibilities of the Recreation Director in a health
care facility. Recreation Directors often state that they just do not have the time to train, but
the needs and benefits of training are worthy of making an appearance in our monthly
planners, and in many cases, a requirement. According to McNamara (2006) there are many
benefits to training employees. Such benefits include:
Increased job satisfaction and morale
Increased employee motivation
Increased capacity to adopt new methods
Increased innovation in strategies
Reduced employee turnover
Enhanced company image
State and Federal regulations, as well as accrediting bodies such as JCAHO, require training
and orientation programs in health care facilities. It is important to review these mandatory
education requirements to ensure the Recreation Department is in compliance. Also, it is
recommended that the Recreation Director review education requirements with the facility
educator. The facility may require various additional mandatory education programs because
of corporate standards, JCAHO, or even as part of a deficiency plan of correction. Though
state regulations vary, some common mandatory in-services include: Tuberculosis/
Bloodborne Pathogens, Resident Rights, Advance Directives, Hand Washing/Hygiene, Fire
and Safety/Disaster, Alzheimer Training and Abuse and Neglect.
So, with many benefits and requirements, why don’t managers, such as Recreation Directors,
train their employees? As mentioned earlier, many managers state there is not enough time in
the day. Training should be scheduled on a regular basis and should not be viewed as
additional work. Set up training schedules such as a series of in-services, on a quarterly basis
or as needed. Consider hiring a consultant or educator to help out in this area. In addition,
Recreation Directors should consider making arrangements for employees to attend the
MEPAP 2nd edition, outside workshops, conferences, and seminars.
Additional reasons why managers do not train their employees often include the lack of know-
how and confidence to perform this duty. Practice makes perfect. Find a mentor, take a class,
attend a seminar, research, etc. Educate yourself on training techniques. There is an
abundance of free information and training resources available on the internet. Each time you
train someone or a group of people, you gain experience, knowledge and eventually the
confidence to continue. Many training programs require a lot of research, preparation, and
planning, so give yourself plenty of time to organize your sessions. Other training may be
spontaneous and be as a result of immediate intervention from management.
Lastly, many managers do not train their employees because there is a high turnover rate.
This is of particular concern to the Recreation Profession, where burnout and turnover is very
common. Interestingly enough, a good training program can actually decrease staff turnover
because employees receive the necessary information they need to perform their job to the
standards set forth by the manager.
There are many ways in which a Recreation Director could take on the role of educator.
Remember, training does not have to occur in a formal, traditional atmosphere of sitting in
rows looking at a Power Point presentation. When training employees, it is important to offer
topics that are relevant to the work provided. In addition to the mandatory education set forth
by the facility, consider the following activity-related topics:
Working with Difficult Residents
Adapting Activities (techniques)
Working with Other Departments
Working with Volunteers
Spirituality vs. Religion
Role/benefits of Activities
Van and Outings
Policies and Procedures
Standards of Practice
The successful trainer utilizes various training methods such as audiovisual equipment,
lecture, discussion, brainstorming, icebreakers, team exercises, games, and so on. Individuals
learn differently so educators must utilize many techniques to engage the staff. For a variety
of team building games, icebreakers, trust activities, and more, visit www.wilderdom.
com/games/InitiativeGames.html. The Recreation Director may also provide department-
specific games such as Medical Abbreviation Bingo, Documentation Jeopardy, Recreation
Jeopardy and Leisure Bingo. These types of activities make learning fun and are available
through Re-Creative Resources Inc.
Trainers should also provide support and guidance outside the walls of the classroom setting.
Working one on one with an employee in the actual work setting is one of the best ways in
which the Recreation staff will learn. Facilitate group and one to one activities with the
employee to demonstrate a variety of facilitation techniques. Utilize designated guidelines and
evaluation tools such as Activity Leadership Guidelines. Attend several care plan meetings
with the employee to show him/her how to interact with the IDCP team and how to report the
resident’s activity status and responses to activities. Encourage the Recreation staff to ask
questions in order to gain knowledge pertaining to various diagnoses. This will help the
Recreation staff to perform more accurate assessments and individualized care plans.
Another great way to offer training to the Recreation staff is through a Skill Share Program.
Recreation staff is given the opportunity to learn new techniques and styles of therapeutic
recreation services by observing and assisting each other in a variety of activities. Since not
everyone is great at everything, it is a wonderful way of training, sharing skills, and idea
Training should not be confined to the Recreation staff. It is equally important to provide
regular training to the facility staff such as nurses, CNAs, food and nutrition employees, social
workers, rehabilitation therapists, housekeeping staff, etc. With the implementation of the
2006 CMS revised Activity Guidance to Surveyors, it has become increasingly important for all
staff to provide meaningful activity to the residents. The Recreation Director must offer
interdisciplinary quality of life training sessions to meet the individual needs and interests of
the residents and to ensure federal regulatory compliance. An in-service entitled, “Breaking
Down the Silos: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Quality of Life”, is available through Re-
Creative Resources Inc.
As the Recreation Director develops various training session such as sensory programs,
documentation, activities for the cognitively impaired, and so on, it is recommended that these
in-services be kept in a binder for future use. It is also imperative to maintain a record of
training provided to each employee. Providing the employee with a certificate of attendance
and placing a copy in the employee’s file, is not only a good way to maintain records but is also
a motivating factor. A free “Individual Education Record” is available through Re-Creative
Resources Inc. and is another way to track training and in-services provided to an employee.
In summary, training employees is an essential responsibility of the Recreation Director. It
requires knowledge, confidence, preparation, dedication, commitment, and follow-through.
The time spent in training employees is one of great value. Not only will the employees
provide higher quality services to the residents, but they will find greater job satisfaction as
well. So spring into training and let the learning begin!
Employee Training and Development: Reasons and Benefits. Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD.
Copyright Kimberly Grandal, 2007. All rights reserved.