Dementia wander garden aids post cerebrovascular stroke restorative therapy: a case study.

Psychiatric Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salem, Virginia, USA.
Alternative therapies in health and medicine (Impact Factor: 1.14). 01/2005; 11(4):54-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT An increasing amount of literature suggests the positive effects of nature in healthcare. The extended life expectancy in the US and the consequent need for long-term care indicates a future need for restorative therapy innovations to reduce the expense associated with long-term care. Moving carefully selected stroke patients' sessions to the peaceful setting of a dementia wander garden, with its designed paths and natural stimuli, may be beneficial. Natural settings have been shown to improve attention and reduce stress--both important therapy objectives in many post-stroke rehabilitation programs. In this case study, using the dementia wander garden for restorative therapy of a non-dementia patient was a novel idea for the restorative therapy group, which does not have a horticultural therapy program. The dementia wander garden stage of the post-stroke rehabilitation helped the patient through a period of treatment resistance. The garden provided both an introduction to the patient's goal of outdoor rehabilitation and a less threatening environment than the long-term care facility hallways. In part because the patient was less self-conscious about manifesting his post-stroke neurological deficits, falling, and being viewed as handicapped when in the dementia wander garden setting, he was able to resume his treatment plan and finish his restorative therapy. In many physical and mental rehabilitation plans, finding a treatment modality that will motivate an individual to participate is a principal goal. Use of a dementia wander garden may help some patients achieve this goal in post-stroke restorative therapy.

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    ABSTRACT: To provide a review on the benefits associated with the use of sensory gardens and horticultural activities in dementia care. Maintaining quality of life is important in dementia care. Sensory gardens and horticultural activities are increasingly used in dementia care, yet their benefits are uncertain. A modified scoping review with descriptive analysis of selected empirical studies. Systematic searches in Amed, CINAHL, MEDLINE, ISI Web of Science, Embase and Scopus were used. Search terms were the free-text concepts 'healing garden', 'horticultural therapy', 'restorative garden' and 'wander garden' which were combined with dementia and Alzheimer. Sixteen studies were included with included participants ranging from eight to 129 participants. Research designs were case studies (n = 2), survey (n = 1), intervention studies with pretest/post-test design (n = 11) and randomised controlled studies (n = 2). Of these 16 studies, eight examined the benefits of sensory gardens, seven examined horticultural therapy or therapeutic horticulture and one examined the use of plants indoors. This study offers a review of the research addressing benefits of sensory gardens, therapeutic horticulture, horticultural therapy and other purposeful use of plants in dementia care. The reported findings are mainly on issues related to behaviour, affect and well-being. The findings are in general mutually supportive, however, with some contradictory findings. In addition, sleep pattern, well-being and functional level seem to improve. These types of nonpharmacological interventions may improve well-being and affect and reduce the occurrence of disruptive behaviour. Additionally, the use of psychotropic drugs, incidents of serious falls, sleep and sleep pattern also seem to improve. To further improve the use of the existing or planned gardens, an educational programme for staff that also includes skill training is recommended.
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