The goals of any rehabilitation programme should be driven by the individual client and their environment in its widest sense. However, rehabilitation following brain injury continues to be driven by a model which focuses on the regaining of basic activity of daily living skills and, once an optimum level has been achieved, little thought and subsequently funding is given to enabling clients to discover new skills or redevelop previous interests and hobbies which will sustain them in the longer term.
For one of my clients, her garden; sympathetically adapted, has provided the focus for a successful year-long project which has encompassed recording the seasonal changes in the garden through photography, growing a range of vegetables (tomatoes, aubergine and peppers) on the window ledge and using the fruits of her labour in her cooking.
Activities associated with the garden have formed the basis for her day to day routine by providing opportunities for planning: outings, meals, additions to the garden and maintenance of her ongoing projects. Love of gardening and her garden have become a shared conversation topic for all who visit her bungalow and a muse for her creative writing. In short her garden and gardening has engendering a sense of well being, purpose and satisfaction leading to a quality of life that she could only dream about during her 11 years of inpatient rehabilitation.
Doreen Tighe DipCOT SROT (Occupational Therapist)
Gardens and gardening often have a vital part to play in the effective rehabilitation of traumatically brain injured and mentally traumatised clients. For many people it is a crucial part of the potential 'healing journey' that can often be forgotten about amongst the chaos and horror of injury, the coming to terms with a different life and the whole process of litigation. For many seriously injured people having a garden that can be utilised for their physical and emotional/mental well being is as important as employing the right support staff. The view through their window is often as crucial as the right accommodation and the appropriate equipment. Gardens need to be looked at as a useful tool in the rehabilitation process rather than as an obstacle to be concreted over or forgotten about. In my experience a properly planned and accessible garden certainly produces positive results.
Neil Elliott (Partner/Thring Townsend Lee and Pembertons)
For many clients with serious injuries the garden plays a vital role in the rehabilitation process. The garden is not only something that happens to come with a house but is something that the client will look at daily out of their window. The garden if appropriately adapted for the clients can provide huge therapeutic benefits both psychologically and also physically.
Janet Cook (Occupational Therapist/Case Manager)
Wow the garden is amazing!! I really love it thank you so much!
About her garden in Salisbury.
A garden is the best alternative therapy
Germaine Greer (Author)