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Gardening/Horticulture in health care facilities

Syracuse, NY

What programs in healthcare facilities (hospitals, nursing homes, day treatment centers, etc.) have you found to be especially useful to you?

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Hi garyon, I guess it depends on what your problem is. For diabetis the organization TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Was the best.
For Depression. A local clinic, Counciling Associates has helped alot. We have regular sessions with councilors and weekly group therapy.
I'm very cautious about American Health Care or Canadian.We are ranked #37(And we pay more than any other country) with Canada only slightly ahead.
France has the best in the world. The rest of Europe follows close behind.
Vickie

Syracuse, NY

I need to clarify what I meant: What existing horticultural programs in health care facilities have you personally found to be useful? I know some facilities use horticultural therapy as part of treatment. I want to work in this field, and want to prepare myself to be marketable.

Thanks

Grayson

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

I have never heard of one! (Although it's often seemed like a good idea....) Actually one assisted living place we visited with my Dad had flowers that had been "planted by the residents."

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)


Hi, Grayson. My name is Kay. Welcome to the forum. I donít go on the forum page often so I just noticed your thread.
Along with several others, I am currently in the process of creating an accessible, gathering and gardening space for people with all sorts of physical limitations in our area. Actually, revising and re-creating might be a better description. The original group that helped create the community garden we call Amargia was very elderly and most have passed on. We who still survive are going back to the start again armed with what we learned the first time around.....and with the asistance of young volunteer backs. lol.
I have never been through a highly organized horticultural therapy program. But, I was an emotional mess after being a witness in a highly publicized violent crime trial and a small group of disabled veterans sort of took me on as a personal crusade. One of those men had been through a formal horticultural therapy program during his rehabilitation and was a firm believer in the curative powers of plant therapy.
They started out by making a small herb garden for me on my apartment patio. I was what is called ďlegally blindĒ at the time. (Meaning a visual acuity of less than 20/200 or a serious visual field limitation.) They would come for a visit and bring me new plants with interesting taste, aromas and textures. It was very informal. I didnít fully realize I was in PTSD therapy until all this had gone on for months. lol. They just shared some of their personal trauma experiences and how they dealt with things while we weeded or harvested or whatever. They would often work their survivorís lessons into normal conversation by using the garden as a metaphor and teaching tool. An example I remember is ferns being used to teach me that there are people who simply donít have what it takes to face harsh truths and you must accept that. You can no more force such people to face unpleasant truths than you can force a fern to grow in lean soil and blazing sun. There were hundreds of little lessons like that illustrated by the garden.
Amargia is merely physically disabled individuals and deep trauma survivors reaching out to help other physically disabled individuals and PTSD survivors. But, there was a formal program at the root of it all. I would look into the hort programs geared to disabled vets. They appear to have had an impact on the individuals who went through them and obviously had quite a ripple effect.
A.I.D.B. (the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind) had horticultural courses years ago when I attended. A brief glance at their website didn't mention those, however, except to mention they have had them in the past. I hope that just means that the newer equistrian program has pushed the horticulture program temporarily into the background. Is your interest in TEACHING horticultural skills? Designing hort therapy programs? The daily, hands-on operation of such programs? Feel free to tell me I'm too nosy. lol.
There was a horticultural program at the local vocational rehabilitation facility geared toward those with psychological and substance abuse problems. My SILs sister, who is in the nursery business, was involved in it somehow. I'll ask more next time I see her. I do know hort programs are still being used in the south and I'm living proof it can work. I was an asocial, uncommunitive person with anger management problems when those brave gentlemen took me on as a project. Hort therapy can be highly effective. Some might say too effective. lol. Kay*.


Syracuse, NY

Thanks, Kay. I have sent you a D-mail.

Grayson

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Kay, you'll have Grayson on your doorstep next thing you know, with an intro like that!

SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

That's okay. If he shows up. we can weed while we talk. The fall veggie planters could use some CONVERSATION. Kay*

Midland City, AL

Youíre safe, Garyson. I CONVERSED with the broccoli this morning. Iím still waiting for a profound teaching story about pigweed though. :-)
Kay practically has to drag me into the garden usually while she is muttering stuff about Vitamin D deficiency and grumpy old bears that are spending too much time in their caves. I enjoy gardening once Iím out there. I feel better afterward and have a sense of accomplishment. Iím focused on what Iím doing and am able to forget about the chronic pain for a time, but I still need to be prodded to get out there. (I should say I garden in raised beds from a sitting position. The pain killers leave me mentally sluggish. It helps that things are simplified. I have a defined task I stick to.) Veggies and foliage plants are my major interest. Flowers are interesting only if they are easy care. I have recently developed more than a passing interest in daylilies.
I think horticultural therapy benefits almost everyone to some extent, but those with a pre-existing bond to nature benefit the most. My friend, Mike, was a serious rose gardener. He deteriorated quickly when he went into a nursing home and couldnít garden anymore or even get outside much. When he was in the hospital shortly before his death, he would save the fresh grapes that came with his breakfast and slip out into a small courtyard used only by smoking staff members for their cigarette breaks. An escape artist on wheels. Lol He would neaten up the courtyard, nurse the standard, boring, landscape shrubs to the best of his circumstances and feed the birds those grapes. He had birds coming to the courtyard at the times he normally snuck out. (The nurses always knew where he was.) He had the birds eating out of his hand by the end of his stay. The nurses and doctor turned a blind eye to his activities despite the fact the hospital rules said the courtyard was only for staff use. It was good for the nurses because he could be a difficult man and allowing him this made him a more tractable patient.. They just made sure he had plenty of grapes and ate some of them himself. lol. He was insulin diabetic and needed to stay on a strict diet. I can appreciate that burn victims and the like need as sterile and controlled an environment as can be managed. For patients who have no such immunity issues, there need to be pleasant outdoor spaces for them to use. It would benefit them and the staff. A happier patient is easier to care for. (Jim)

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Agreed, Jim. I tried ( in my wheelchair) to drag my father (in his wheelchair) out to the patio on an unseasonably warm day this spring. It was like 70-80 degrees. He was STILL cold, even with a blanket.

Syracuse, NY

Thank you all for responding. I'll read your responses more carefully this afternoon. My meeting with the Recreation Therapist at the Syracuse VA went differently than I expected: she actually suggested that I could work with her as a consultant. I expected to get observations and insights from her; she suggested my working with them. I will pull a Proposal for Services together this weekend. What you have shared with me will be very helpful. Also, there is a not-for-profit organization locally that assists individuals with handicapping conditions develop their own businesses. I hope to hook into that soon. Wow! Things are falling into place more quickly than I expected!

Milton, MA(Zone 6a)

Wow, Gary, congratulations!

Syracuse, NY

I got a positive response to my written proposal for services. I learned yesterday that a friend now works at a rehab facillity. She was enthusiastic about my plans, and will introduce me to their recreational therapy staff. I plan to contact the facillity next week.

Does anyone have suggestions on an "ideal" indoor garden space? My plan is to start programs by designating areas to horticultlural activity. I would like to include both active and passive activity.

Ozone, AR(Zone 6a)

Good for you garyon, I saw one somewhere that was like a waist high room divider about 6 ft long and about 3 ft wide, With grow lights incased in glass about 2 1/2 feet above it. I don't know what plants were in it but they were pretty and green and thick.
Vickie

Syracuse, NY

I have not devoted the time to this that I anticipated. After the first of the year I hope to get back on track. It seemed so overwhelming for a while. Each of you has responded with helpful information and encouragement. Thanks. And Merry Christmas to you.


I am attaching a photo of last week's storm here in Syracuse, NY. More is expected through Christmas. It will, without question, be a white one.

Thumbnail by garyon
SE/Gulf Coast Plains, AL(Zone 8b)

My DD#2 is a special ed teacher living in Utica. My GD's would love to have a snowy Christmas there, I'm not sure their parents share their enthusiasm for it though. lol. Hope it's a wonderful and safe holiday for you. Kay*

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