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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1121: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): XII International People Plant Symposium: Horticulture and Human Communities

Realization of a neuro-rehabilitation therapeutic garden: design criteria and horticultural choices

Authors:   C. Righetto, G. Prosdocimi Gianquinto, F. Orsini, F. Meneghello, G. Marcassa, I. Koch, P. Sgaravatti, B. Piccolomini
Keywords:   gardening, rehabilitation, disability, accessibility, raised beds, hospital garden design, horticultural therapy
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1121.9
The use of gardening activities as vocational treatments for people with illnesses and disabilities has recently become increasingly popular in Italy, too, although the effect of horticultural activities on neuro-rehabilitation has not been examined. The recent creation of the neuro-rehabilitation Therapeutic Garden, “A Garden to Relive” (hereafter GTR), at the San Camillo Hospital Foundation in Venice, has provided a good opportunity to promote successful synergies, such as the presentation of the project both within the hospital and to the general public, and the subsequent fundraising events to obtain funds to adjust the flowerbeds, lay the paving and build a small greenhouse. The problems and solutions implemented to ensure accessibility, together with the criteria for designing a new Therapeutic Garden for patients admitted to a neuro-rehabilitation hospital, are reported here. Neurological patients may have different levels of motor and cognitive disability. Therefore the objective was to create a garden with the following features: accessible by wheelchair and also safe for people walking with some kind of support; working stations of appropriate height and design; high biodiversity and organic crops; suitable for patients who need to recover from, for example, post-stroke depression or to prove themselves before they are discharged from hospital. Moreover, the garden aimed to create a unique sensorial environment for patients with severe brain injury who, in the absence of functional mobility, might benefit from colours, perfumes and tactile experiences. The horticultural solutions and the development of the gardening activities, taking into account the critical aspects as well as the agronomic results after one year, will be addressed in this paper.

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