14 June 2017
Two gardens designed to help support patient care, rehabilitation and recovery have been officially opened at Chase Farm Hospital.
The opening day was attended by staff, volunteers and patients, who were able to wander round the completed gardens.
The gardens, which are accessible from the wards, were funded thanks to an appeal launched by the Chase Farm Charity which raised over £135,000.
The therapy gardens were designed to the highest specification by a landscape architect and involved consultation with nurses, therapists and patients. They will be used by hundreds of patients every year, along with visiting family and friends and staff.
The first of the two gardens is a dementia care garden, which uses colour, scent and visual stimulation to evoke memories. It recreates a residential street from the post-war era, complete with period shop fronts, street lamps and even a real Mini.
It has been proven that dementia patients respond positively when given free access to outdoor areas. Agitation and aggression is reduced and there is an increase in memory recall.
The second garden is aimed at patients recovering from a stroke. It is based on a Japanese design and will provide a tranquil haven for patients for whom the noise of a busy ward can be overwhelming, as well as a quiet place for family and friends to visit. It also incorporates a gardening project with raised beds to enable patients to participate in gardening activities, all designed to support recovery.
The new therapy gardens aim to be an example of best practice that others can learn from.
Speaking at the opening, Chris Burghes, chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, said: “So many people have been involved in this project from fundraising to volunteering their time to help create the gardens. We had people parachuting, doing half marathons and all sorts of other incredible things to raise money and I would like to thank everyone involved. We are really proud of the gardens and now they are available for patients and staff to use.”
Deborah Sanders, director of nursing at the Royal Free Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I think it’s the most incredible space for patients and staff to enjoy being in. We know gardens are of great therapeutic value for patients and it’s wonderful for them to have a space that is tranquil and calming.”
Tracy Goodman, urgent care matron at Chase Farm Hospital, said: "This garden was my dream – to provide a space to help with therapy and wellbeing. I know our patients will benefit from this.”