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Patient programs

Patient programs

At Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago, care extends far beyond the hospital walls. The recreational therapy and child life departments at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago believes that recreation and leisure should be an important part of everyone’s life without exception. The recreational therapy staff at Shriners Hospitals for Children provides year round F.L.O.W. (Friendship, Leisure, Opportunity & Wellness) programming that utilizes a variety of activity-based programs that offer participants an opportunity to build confidence, socialize effectively, and learn new sport and recreation skills. All programming offered through FLOW is led and/or planned by a certified therapeutic recreation specialist.

During your visit to the Chicago Shriners Hospital you may see therapy dogs, musicians, magicians, area sports teams, clowns, picnics or holiday-themed parties. Activities and classes are provided at no cost to patients and families.You may email Darlene Kelly, director of recreational therapy/child life, to be added to the activity and classes mailing list.

Who can participate?

FLOW offers a variety of sport, social and arts programming to patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Chicago. Individual programs may be designed for specific ages and ability levels, which are identified in program descriptions. Some programs do require participants to be independent with their self-care. Most events require an RSVP.

Sport and recreation

These programs may help patients with self-esteem, development of rule-following and sequencing, peer camaraderie, strength and flexibility, and family support. Patients must have a Medical Release Form signed by their primary care physician to participate in sport and recreation programs:

  • Sport workshops (a variety of adapted sports and Special Olympic sports)  
  • Summer horseback riding – Horsefeathers Therapeutic Riding
  • Teenage/adult transition program

Creative arts

Programs provide an opportunity for participants to express their emotions, develop social skills, self-awareness, coping skills, and advance gross and fine motor skills. Programs include:

  • Adaptive dance
  • Play/movement therapy
    • Funny Bones Improv Workshops – Second Thursdays of the month, 6–7 p.m. Come and laugh with other patients. RSVP is required for this event. Contact Darlene at 773-385-5426 or Amanda at 773-385-5515.
  • Art
    • Art Station Studio – Third Thursdays of the month, 6–7:30 p.m.
      Come and paint with other patients. Create your own masterpiece with instructions, on a canvas you can take home. RSVP is required. Contact Darlene Kelly at 773-385-5426.
    • Storytelling workshop and comedy with guest artist Maggie Overholt – October 24, 6 p.m. Comedy from a patient advocate about her own health care journey. Plus get help being creative in telling your own story. RSVP is required. Contact Darlene at 773-385-5426.
  • Science
    • Science Fun Workshops – Third Wednesday of the month, 6–7 p.m. RSVP to Ryan at 773-385-5514.
  • Music therapy
  • Horticultural therapy
    • Gardening and plants workshops in partnership with the Chicago Botanic Garden, Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. RSVP to Amanda at 773-385-5515.

Socialization events

These events provide an opportunity for patients of all abilities to spend time with family and meet new friends through holiday parties, picnics and performances.

  • Magic Show - October 16 at noon. No need to RSVP.
  • Spirit Halloween Party – Tuesday, October 15. Spirit Halloween stores will have fun activities and costumes for patients to choose from. RSVP to dkelly@shrinenet.org or 773-385-5426.
  • Halloween Carnival – October 31. Annual hospital carnival day with trick or treating around the hospital. RSVP is REQUIRED to Jamie at 773-385-5550 or jascholl@shrinenet.org.

For more information on getting involved in FLOW programs, contact Darlene by phone at 773-385-5426 or via email.