There is much literature supporting the use of social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) within health and social care settings (King’s Fund, 2016). Benefits such as quality of life, well-being, restoration, adjustment and normalisation, affirmation of life and preparation for death through meaningful and valuable activity are deemed as some of the positive elements (Cimprich, 1993; Hartig et al., 2014; King’s Fund 2016; Kaplan, 1995).
However, despite these reported benefits, and some limited research relating to gardening in end-of-life care (Unruh, 2000), there remains a dearth of specific research regarding the therapeutic use of gardens and gardening within this field (Cooper Marcus and Sachs, 2014). This may lead to the underutilisation of gardening as a therapeutic occupation.
STH aligns well with providing holistic, person-centred practice, which is key to palliative care (WHO, 2013). Outcomes and evaluation indicate immediate improvement to wellbeing.
Funding for interventions met by voluntary/hospice contributions.
Nature-based and gardening activities, including accessible indoor table-top gardening, have the potential to address complex and multifaceted issues that impact clients affected by life-shortening illness (Haller and Kramer, 2006).
This subject is timely, as gardening/nature-based interventions are re-gaining popularity within hospice care (e-hospice, 2016).
We aim to:
debate both opportunities and challenges of gardening as an occupation for people with life-shortening illness;
share some practical examples of STH utilised with clients within palliative care settings;
share and discuss development of the STH Model (Pilgrem and Sempik, 2015).
In conclusion, we aim to promote the value of STH as an intervention to be utilised by multi-disciplinary team members (Adevi and Sempik, 2013) to enhance hospice rehabilitative care, which currently has a national profile; ‘Enabling people to live fully until they die’ (Tiberini and Richardson, 2015).
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