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Wellbeing ‘blooms’ in the Ward 9 garden at Macclesfield Hospital

28 April 2021

A green-fingered occupational therapy student at Macclesfield District General Hospital has enhanced wellbeing on the wards by getting patients involved in therapeutic gardening activities throughout her work placement.

To help get her initiative off the ground, Nia Owen-Booth, reached out to local garden centres for donations and received a generous range of plants, soil, pots and garden tools from nearby Prestbury Plant and Garden Centre.

The kind donation has meant that patients with dementia on Ward 9 have been able to carry out gardening activities during their stay on the ward.

Nia said "Gardening provides opportunities for patients with dementia to express themselves and interact with others. We also know there are research studies which suggest that gardening has a positive impact on the wellbeing, cognition and mood of people with dementia.”

Patients have responded with enthusiasm and have been really engaged throughout the activities. One patient said "I love gardening. I really enjoyed it."

The patients’ responses are a practical demonstration of how participating in  meaningful activities can have a positive impact on their mood and motivation.

“This underpins the philosophy of occupational therapy which is to maintain physical activity, cognitive function and social interaction. All of these elements help someone who has dementia to remain stimulated, feel valued and helpful.” said Nia.

Stephanie Ragdale, specialist dementia nurse at East Cheshire NHS Trust, said, “For patients with dementia, a hospital stay can be distressing and the unfamiliar environment may cause acute anxiety and can lead to withdrawal.

“People living with dementia are generally in the ‘here and now’ so activity and interaction is key. This can be so rewarding in a garden; where the calmness of the surroundings offer a fantastic opportunity for stimulation of all the senses.

“We’re delighted that Nia’s initiative has been so successful and we’re looking forward to nurturing the plants over the warmer months.”