Patients and Visitors
Every year over 170,000 people are admitted into Intensive Care (ICU) in the UK. The individuals who survive their admission (75% approximately) are left with a collection of symptoms known as Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS). PICS is not a diagnosis but the beginning of a common language describing 3 domains of impairment seen after Critical Illness. These are physical impairment, cognitive impairment and psychological health problems.
Globally as medical care advances, mortality rates in ICU areas are reducing but this is leaving a growing population with a new burden of chronic ill health with over half of ICU survivors report impairment in two domains of PICS and a third in three.
ICU patients benefit from early psychological intervention, and ICU physical rehabilitation, the evidence is clear that early physical intervention in ICU is safe, feasible, improves functional outcomes, decreases ventilator days, reduces delirium and decreases ICU and hospital length of stay.
To that end it is imperative that ICU patients are given maximum exposure to rehabilitation during their ICU admission. The Secret Garden allows the whole inter-professional team to promote, enhance and facilitate rehabilitation in a non-clinical setting. Supporting patients and loved ones to feel normal and to engage with their rehabilitation needs and their future.
A King’s Fund report on gardens and health, funded by the National Garden Scheme found that the mental health benefits of gardening were broad and diverse, with reductions in depression and anxiety and improved social functioning, emotional well-being and physical health. This garden offers University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust the opportunity to create the first ICU Rehabilitation space for patients, loved ones and staff in the UK. This garden offers our staff a fresh air space for rest, in particular during the recent COVID pandemic where the restrictions of personal protective equipment have applied extra pressure to staff well-being.
The Secret Garden is adorned with a flower arrangement which was destined for the 2020 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, following a donation by Yeo Valley and garden designer Tom Massey. Read more here.
Here's how it would've looked at RHS Chelsea Flower Show
We may be biased, but we think our secret Chelsea garden looks better! A huge thank you to Yeo Valley, Tom and the team
The Secret Garden is a private space where we can take patients and loves ones at every stage of their critical illness, we are however keen to improve the capacity to mitigate the weather and prolong visiting times. We are therefore building a rehabilitation garden room with piped oxygen, power, skylights, glass walls and the feeling of bringing the outside in. This would also include wide smooth paths, benches, screens and raised beds with sensory planting to stimulate patient’s senses.
The space will also allow for dogs and other pets to enter to be with their terminally ill owner in a non-sterile environment.
An artist impression of the new development
What their loved ones say:
“Myself and my family feel that the garden is a really valuable space for my mum to be able to visit while she is in hospital and have noticed how her trip outside really brightened her and us up. Being able to breathe fresh ait and feel the sun on her skin has helped her greatly. This is a small piece of normality for her and a chance where we can be together away from the machines, noises and daily bustle of the ward.”