Background Therapeutic benefits of gardens, gardening and nature are well documented being utilised in health and community settings (Diamant, Waterhouse. Br J Occup Ther. 2010; 73(2): 84–88). The model of rehabilitative palliative care (Tiberini, Richardson. Rehabilitative palliative care: enabling people to live fully until they die – a challenge for the 21st century. 2015) is the fundamental framework, core to our hospice work and at its heart is seeing patients as people.
New Hub services undertook holistic assessments of new outpatients, identifying that gardens, gardening or nature-based activities were amongst the things which mattered to them.
Aims Facilitate person-centered therapeutic groups to enable participants to engage and reconnect with nature through graded activities as a therapeutic intervention, empowering them to live well.
Methods Unstructured pilot ‘Therapy Through Nature’ sessions facilitated for information gathering, creating a safe space to be heard, peer sharing of skills, thoughts, feelings and memories of gardening, gardens, and nature. Participant inspiration workshops recording their ideas, hopes, dreams and goals. Engagement with local community charities initiated by attendees. Outcome measures initiated include IPOS and qualitative feedback cards.
Results Key themes emerging from current qualitative data:
Increased sense of wellbeing.
Group priorities and goals identified and in progress or achieved including: ‘Give back to the hospice and staff and to co-create a living legacy.’
Growing vegetables and fruit for the hospice Bistro.
Growing flowers to enhance the environment.
Enabling and facilitating people to meet their goals.
Collaboration with other local charities mutually beneficial.
Conclusions ‘Therapy Through Nature’ appears to demonstrate effective therapeutic intervention in a hospice outpatient setting. In the wake of the pandemic, cost of living crisis and concerns about environment, this work is relevant to our hospice families. Our story so far demonstrates the power of people, plants, purpose and partnership, connecting community.
Next chapters Evolving collaborations across the hospice, enhancing connections with our natural environment and creating therapeutic green spaces. Developing model, engaging carers, bereaved, volunteers and staff to promote wellbeing for all.
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