Many hospices are well known for the beautiful gardens that patients, visitors and staff enjoy. Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice have brought the outside in by introducing new table-top gardening sessions allowing patients to benefit from social and therapeutic horticulture and join in with an activity they may have enjoyed before becoming ill.
Lisi the occupational therapist at Phyllis Tuckewell says:
"We often start with potting herbs which have been linked with medicine throughout history. Research has shown that gardening or even simply spending time surrounded by nature, can measurably reduce stress levels and improve well being."
Patients are given a set of instructions and materials and are able to choose from a selection of plants so everyone’s final piece is slightly different and personalised. Planting up herbs or making a miniature garden, which patients are then able to take home for themselves or give to a loved one, is hugely important and also very special for those receiving such a precious gift.
As well as enjoying the gardening, patients also benefit from the boost to their self-esteem, which comes from creating something themselves. Because of their illnesses, many have lost muscle strength and movement, resulting in reduced independence and the need for a carer to help with everyday tasks. Lisi says:
"It is amazing to see someone who is so affected by illness find restoration through gardening."
"It takes your mind off everything, all your worries go out of the door."
"It makes me feel relaxed and was great fun."
Originally published on ehospice: Horticulture sessions help hospice patients