Publish date: 5 January 2022

We were proud to be able to support the Stroke Unit in creating a therapy garden for all patients on Ward B14. We have created a beautiful outdoor space which patients can access and get away from the busy clinical environment. Many of our patients can be in hospital for a number of weeks recovering from their stroke and so it is vital for their mental and physical health to be able to access the outdoors.

The garden has been utilized for patients to get away from the ward environment with relatives and carers, for therapy sessions including functional tasks, balance work and mobility practice and cognitive rehabilitation.

Since opening the garden, it has been enjoyed by many of our patients. It has allowed a young stroke patient to have a visit from their small child in a natural environment. It has enabled two patients nearing the end of their life to have visits by their dogs. The garden has a calming effect and this has been evident, even in the most agitated of patients. We have been able to engage the patients in planting seeds that grew into beautiful sunflowers. Previous stroke survivors have painted motivational messages onto pebbles that are displayed in the garden and this provides encouragement for current stroke patients on the unit coming to terms with the impact of stroke.

Over the Summer we were able to use the garden to take individual patients outside to share a poem as a part of our shared reading project whilst enjoying the fresh air and quiet space.

The ward environment is often noisy and lacks natural light. It has provided a calm quiet environment with all the benefits that daylight / sunlight can give.

We have been able to use the garden to motivate some patients to attend and engage in therapy as the garden is accessed via the therapy rehab gym. Therapists would take patients out into the garden after a therapy session or as part of a session.

The garden has helped to alleviate boredom and inactivity and encourage patients to be up out of bed and dressed ready to access the garden. Many of our patients can have difficulties with communication and the garden environment stimulates conversation and allows patients to practise their speech.

Patients can often suffer from low mood during their stay and the garden constantly helps to lift their spirits. This is visible when patients are taken into the garden.

Many patients have fed back how they miss their own gardens and outside space but the therapy garden helped them cope with time away from their home and have enjoyed telling staff about their own gardens and discussing the plants and flowers in the therapy garden.

The garden is able to be used by even the most dependent of patients who require specialist seating as it was created to be accessible with our specialist chairs and wheelchairs.

Without the kind donations to the hospital charity we would not have been able to create this amazing space which is making such a positive impact on our patients now and will continue to do so for patients in the years to come.