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P-213 Growing forwards
  1. Lucy Heaps
  1. Garden House Hospice Care, Letchworth, UK


Background The hospice Occupational Therapist (OT) had read a poster regarding Social Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) within palliative care (Leckie & Pilgrem,2016). With low level experience of gardening, the OT was given the challenge of starting up STH within day services.


  • To liaise with the fundraising team to access funding for training and equipment needs

  • To develop skills and knowledge to lead STH sessions via networking and training

  • To run STH sessions with support from the rehab assistant and a volunteer.

Method June 2017 – started researching what was involved in running a weekly STH session. September 2017 – funding gained from Santander. September 2017 – became a member of the STH for palliative care (STH4PC) specialist interest group. October 2017 – attend the Thrive ‘Award Access course’ on STH (endorsed by the Royal College of Occupational Therapists). November 2017 – Attended training day at Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice – setting up a STH session. April 2018 – started weekly STH sessions at the Hawthorne Centre.


  • OT has increased knowledge and skills in STH

  • Gained fantastic peer support and guidance face to face, attending specialist interest groups and via social media channels

  • Weekly STH sessions are in place and patients are giving good feedback. They have a reduction in their anxiety and stress as a result of attending a sessions

  • Patients are proud to be growing plants and vegetables to be used by the kitchen, and also sold at our annual hospice open garden event.

Conclusion It has been a rewarding personal development experience to come into a new post and set up a successful STH session to patients. We have future plans ahead to increase the overall access to the garden by patients, families and staff.

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