Mervin Silk from Tilehurst with Liz Lewis, Specialist Neurological Physiotherapist
The Therapy Garden at the Royal Berkshire Hospital provides a stimulating, relaxing and safe outdoor area for patients to enjoy gardening activities in a home like garden environment.
The multi-sensory garden, specially designed with pathways around all of the main areas to enable easy access for all, also features a wheelchair accessible greenhouse making it especially helpful in the rehabilitation of patients from the neurological rehabilitation unit and the stroke unit, as well those from medical and elderly care wards, plus a variety of out-patient groups.
Planting includes flowers and vegetables as well as sensory plants such as herbs and lavender, in beds and pots at different heights to allow people with all levels of mobility to work and enjoy being outside in the garden. Different ground surfaces also allow patients to practice their outdoor mobility.
Alison Stewart, Occupational Therapist said: “Patients enjoy gardening tasks including planting, re-potting, digging, pruning, weeding and watering. Many of the patients require longer-term rehabilitation and get a real sense of achievement watching the plants and vegetables grow, plus we get to use the edible produce in therapeutic kitchen activities.
“The garden has been planned and designed to appeal to all of the senses and provide year-round interest. It allows patients to work with therapists on specific skills, such as balance, walking practice, exercise tolerance, fine motor skills, cognitive and problem solving skills, and memory and attention. Patients are often far more knowledgeable about gardening than the therapists and everyone benefits from sharing their experience and expertise.”