Horticultural Therapy can be defined as ‘The use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals can be met.’
Anna Baker Cresswell introduced Horticultural Therapy to the military in the UK in 2007 when she started her first charity, Gardening Leave.
In 2014, HighGround began a three-year pilot to explore the benefits of Horticultural Therapy as an intervention for injured service personnel at HeadleyCourt. Carol Sales, our first Horticultural Therapist delivered 4,072 sessions of Horticultural Therapy to 1,136 patients.
Since September 2018, Andy Wright, our Therapeutic Gardens Manager, and Jane Taylor, Horticultural Therapist, have continued this legacy by providing the Horticultural Therapy service for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Stanford Hall in Leicestershire as part of their rehabilitation programme for injured soldiers, sailors and airmen.
All patients who come to Horticultural Therapy are referred by their Occupational Therapist as part of an individual rehabilitation programme. All the patients at DMRC are still serving their Country.
Horticultural Therapy has now been integrated into the range of rehab options available for clinicians to treat injured serving personnel and we are hugely grateful to all our donors for their support. The Horticultural Therapy service at DMRC Stanford Hall is funded by a grant from the Chancellor using LIBOR funds. To find out how much it costs to run one session of Horticultural Therapy please see the tinted box below.
It costs HighGround £92 to deliver one session of Horticultural Therapy.
Patients are referred by their Occupational Therapist (OT) as many times during their admission that the OT feels that an intervention of HT can contribute to their rehab programme.
Reasons for referral for Complex Trauma (amputee) patients include standing tolerance and balance, and diversion from pain. For Neuro Patients, improving ﬁne motor skills and cognitive processing are the most common reason for referral and for Force Generation (joints and spines), patients planning and sequencing, encouraging social interaction and improving self-conﬁdence and self-esteem feature in most referrals.
The HT service operates for 50 weeks of the year and follows the gardening year in all weathers. Patients are able to keep coming back – some over several years – until they are fully rehabilitated.
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