The primary goal of a Recreation Therapist working with a patient living with schizophrenia is to improve their quality of life by providing opportunities for meaningful engagement and activities. Meaningful leisure activities produce positive emotions, such as joy, contentment and interest, which have a direct relation to wellbeing.
Circumstances of hospitalization and the symptomology of schizophrenia often make it difficult to experience positive emotions or engage in meaningful activities. For example, the negative symptoms can cause individuals to seclude themselves or become isolated and they may require significant behavioural activation or motivational encouragement to perform daily tasks.
Forensic psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry. It focuses on assessing and treating people with severe mental illness who have become involved with the criminal justice system. Psychiatrists in this field are trained to assess these people and to help them recover from their active symptoms and start on their recovery journey.
At Ontario Shores, the Forensic Assessment Unit (FAU) assesses individuals living with schizophrenia to determine their fitness to stand trial and criminal responsibility. The role of the psychiatrist here is to meet with the person awaiting trial and gather as much information as possible regarding their history and current status. This information comes from the person as well as other collateral sources such as family members and other hospitals and clinicians to enable the psychiatrist to assess the individual as comprehensively as possible.
A nurse’s role in treating patients with schizophrenia has varied among the course of the years and is a very diverse and fulfilling experience.
Over 30 years ago, much of this role revolved around offering programs in areas such as crafts, ceramic work, horticulture, nutrition and cooking - programs that offered socialization and engagement.