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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