Horticulture therapy at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home

M. Partridge, S.N. Goodyear
The HT program at the R.K. MacDonald began as a biweekly pilot session in collaboration with recreation staff and became a permanent offering in June 2013. The program utilizes activities such as growing flowers, herbs and vegetables in raised beds, cultivation of indoor plants, plant centered crafts, and sales of plant-based products. These horticultural activities are the basis of a therapeutic modality that focuses on the social, psychological, and physical wellbeing of the people living in a long-term care facility. A strong background of research exists and is referenced to support the efficacy of Horticultural Therapy. Many residents living in this long-term care facility have some degree of dementia, and programming is adapted to meet their specific needs. Additionally, the sessions are designed and run to reach the largest number of residents possible, whose needs and interests vary, and whose participation is often seasonal or dependent on other factors. The HT program ultimately engages a certain percentage of the resident population directly, through their active participation, and it reaches many others in a more passive way, through their appreciation of nature and the natural world. The benefits of the HT program are felt by all, including residents, staff, and visiting families, through improvements in the aesthetic environment, air cleansing, conversation starters, and more. The program provides an opportunity to advocate for the residents and the importance of their connection to the natural world, and allows education of other facility staff on this importance. This paper presents the development of the program and how it connects in a multidisciplinary way with other professions and groups, including community partners.
Partridge, M. and Goodyear, S.N. (2019). Horticulture therapy at the R.K. MacDonald Nursing Home. Acta Hortic. 1246, 27-34
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1246.5
level 2 care, interdisciplinary care, green zone, internship