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The recreation therapist versus the certified activity director: Which professional receives fewer deficiencies in long-term care facilities?

Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CNHA, GNP-BC, FACHCA, Sharon A. Nazarchuk, PhD, MHA, RN, Deborah Adelman, PhD, RN, CNS


The literature reports no studies that sought to determine which professional group (certified therapeutic recreation therapist versus certified activity director) achieves fewer survey deficiencies in the skilled nursing facility. This article will examine the scant and dated literature that is available to demonstrate which of these activity professionals has superior outcomes specific to the OBRA ’87 requirements. The article concludes with an articulation of the need for the discipline of recreation therapy to involve itself in outcomes research specific to which of the two disciplines better achieves the objectives of OBRA ’87.


activity professional, long-term care, nursing home, CMS

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