West Berks Hospital

The Therapy garden was developed approximately 4 years ago by Chrissie (our Activities Co-ordinator) and the then Matron Amanda Hart. Chrissie and Amanda were instrumental in initiating the garden volunteers support and this then led to the design of the garden.

Since the garden has been taking shape, it has been used by the patients’ and their families as a resting and reflective space. It is also used for horticulture therapy and we have a large greenhouse that accommodates this. As a team, the Therapists were keen to use the garden more within their activities and goal planning and enlisted the help of Chrissie to plan this. We looked around for a suitable training service to help us develop a program for our patients’. We contacted Thrive because we had knowledge of them from previous training sessions.

Having considered the types of training sessions that Thrive could offer, we picked a bespoke 2 day course that suited our patients’ needs. We asked for some of our volunteer gardeners to be included in the training session and three participants applied. This meant that on the training we had four staff from Therapy and three volunteers.

We found the training to be very interactive and the trainer was incredibly knowledgeable. The types of activities that were trialled on the training days were bespoke to our patients’ needs. We also felt that having completed the training, we now have the tools to allow us to be fully inclusive in offering garden therapy to each of our patients’.

Following the training we developed a wish list and have had several meetings with our volunteer gardeners to put these ideas forward. Some of our wish list, which we have started developing includes:

  1. Ornamental distance markers to use in walking/pacing exercises
  2. A Blackboard – to welcome visitors to our garden and to use as a prompt
  3. Walking stick holders
  4. Outdoor stair case
  5. Activity resting posts
  6. Wall activities for reaching and bending exercises
  7. Textured floor surfaces
  8. A keysafe for patients’ to test out
  9. Movement of some furniture and clearance of wall space
  10. A postcard, to be given on admission, to invite patients’ and their families to the garden

Going forward, we feel that we want to utilize the therapy garden for patient activity. We would like to see it become part of the patients’ daily rehab program.