Jessica McCutcheon is seated next to an elderly female patient, watching her do arts and crafts. McCutcheon has dark blonde hair and brown eyes. She’s wearing a black top, mustard cardigan and a mask over her mouth and nose.
Jessica McCutcheon joined KHSC in October 2023, and is the only full time recreation therapist in the organization. She mainly works with patients and families on Davies 5 at the Kingston General Hospital site.
Matthew Manor

The first time Jessica McCutcheon visited her grandmother, AKA Grammie, in long-term care she was greeted with the sweetest sound.

“It was her first week. As soon as I walked onto the locked, memory-care unit I could hear her laugh,” recalls McCutcheon.

“Grammie had dementia and I hadn’t heard her laugh in a long time. She was sitting with the recreation team, doing a reminiscing activity. It felt like I had finally seen my grandmother again.”

McCutcheon had a front row seat to the power of recreation therapy and it made a big impact on her. Just check out her Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) ID badge.

“The best way to describe a recreation therapist is like a friend, support system or a smiling face behind a mask. I work with patients one-to-one or in a group setting to support their goals in a holistic way, through interactive activities such as exercise, art therapy, music-based programs, reminiscing, and much more.

“But it’s more than just ‘fun and games.’ We’re trained professionals who think creatively and are able to adapt to work with any age, stage or population group. We support with laughter, caring words and proven interventions.

"One day you might see me dressed up for a 1950s party serving root-beer floats, and the next, sitting at someone’s bedside working through the hard emotions of missing home.”

Fun fact, McCutcheon joined KHSC in October 2023, and is the only full time recreation therapist in our organization. She mainly works on Davies 5 at the Kingston General Hospital site.

“The feedback from patients and families has been great, and I’m happy to work alongside such a diverse team of health-care professionals, while advocating for recreation therapy. I enjoy building relationships with patients, getting to know who they are, what they used to do for work, understanding their childhood adventures, and their struggles.

“Everyone needs someone who is genuinely interested in what they have to say and knowing I can make even a small difference in someone’s hospital stay is something I’m proud of.

"Every day is different, every patient is unique and every interaction has the potential to be something great.”

Just like when she heard her Grammie laugh again, which continues to inspire her.

“With help from recreation therapists and trained staff, Grammie was laughing, singing and enjoying the time she had left, in a safe environment.

"I hope to provide special moments for patients and their families too. Everyone deserves to laugh, sing and be part of something, no matter their age or stage in life.”