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P-43  Improving health and well-being for hospice patients through social and therapeutic horticulture
  1. Stephen Oxberry,
  2. Elspeth McGloughlin and
  3. Michael Crowther
  1. Kirkwood Hospice, Huddersfield, UK


Grow Group is a hospice-based weekly horticulture group for in- and out-patients, set in our Support and Therapy day centre. It was established as a result of an audit which highlighted the need to increase the range of therapeutic activities available to patients, providing services that may be of interest to a wider range of patients than just traditional group activities. Therapeutic horticulture is considered to have benefits to physical, psychological and psychosocial health and well-being.

The aims of the Grow Group were; to improve patients’ health and well-being through the use of social and therapeutic horticulture, provide opportunity for engagement in activities meaningful to patients, to provide opportunity for skill maintenance and acquisition, to increase the range of activities available to patients, maintain levels of engagement and enable patients to have an increased internal locus of control.

The weekly sessions are facilitated by an occupational therapist with the assistance of volunteers. Activities and tasks are adapted to meet the needs of patients, and are delivered both inside and outside dependent on weather conditions. The activities enable engagement in meaningful occupations despite physical or cognitive impairment in a physically and socially supportive environment, giving an element of choice and opportunity for decision making, in addition to the using physical, cognitive and social skills.

The Grow Group is in part self-funded due to income generated through plant sales and part in donations. 41 people have attended over the past eight months. Outcomes are measured objectively in conjunction with gaining qualitative feedback from patients and feedback has been excellent.

We have extended our range of therapeutic interventions and offer opportunity for patients to engage in meaningful occupations and recommend social and therapeutic horticulture as a highly effective therapeutic tool which can potentially greatly improve quality of life.

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