Article Text

Download PDFPDF

P-45  There is more to gardening than meets the eye!
  1. Karen Leckie1,2 and
  2. Lisi Pilgrem3
  1. 1University of Cumbria
  2. 2St Catherine’s Hospice
  3. 3Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care


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:

  1. debate both opportunities and challenges of gardening as an occupation for people with life-shortening illness;

  2. share some practical examples of STH utilised with clients within palliative care settings;

  3. 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).

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work noncommercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.