The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Rehabilitation Garden for patients and staff has been officially opened today by the ICU’s very own Pets as Therapy Dog, Hovis and his younger brother, Therapy Dog in training, Harvey.
The garden has been designed to act as a space for both psychological and physical rehabilitation. It has already been transformed with plants and fairy lights and a basketball hoop which will provide further opportunities for physical activity.
As well as aiding rehabilitation for patients, the garden will act as a sanctuary for staff too.
Research has shown that individuals working in a high stress environment are more prone to burnout and work related stress.
Specialist Research and Education Sister in ICU, Kate Tantam said: “The garden is a space for both patients and staff. The whole team and our patients have supported the development of the garden, using their own experiences to build a picture of what is needed.
“The outdoor space will support the recovery of patients with ICU related delirium and the effects of staying in ICU can have on their psychological and physical health. The natural light will help patients reconnect with their natural sleep-wake cycles and help to build resilience and independence.
“We understand the value of giving patients the opportunity to be normal, to feel fresh air, to feel rain, to feel wind and optimising them seeing sunlight and sleeping well.
“This garden has been inspired by so many of our patients but there is one in particular who had been with us for a long period of time and he loved dogs and the outdoors. For a number of reasons we couldn’t bring his dog into the ICU, so we used to take him outside so that his dog could come and visit him.
“We wanted to create a space for him, his loved ones, his dog and all of our patients and their families and their pets; so this garden is dedicated to him.”
Phase one of the Critical Care Rehabilitation garden opens today, ahead of the launch of a fundraising campaign in January 2019. The plan is to create an enclosed all weather rehabilitation space for the critically ill by 2020. Mark Lane, an award winning gardener from Gardeners World, has joined the team of patients, staff and architects who are designing a space for patients, loved ones and staff from across the Trust.
The garden has been partially funded by the Spring Intensive Care Fund and has also had some incredibly generous donations from family and friends of the ICU, the Patients Voluntary Welfare Fund, Plymouth Garden Centre, B&Q, BCS SW, Odesma Ltd, Bell Group and Marks and Spencer.
“We want to say thank you to all those who have supported us”, said Kate. “Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us in building this garden for our patients, their loved ones and our staff.”