Durham Regional Hospital created an outdoor therapeutic garden for patients of Durham Rehabilitation Institute, Durham Regional’s inpatient rehabilitation unit, to assist these patients with their recovery. The garden is utilized to address specific treatment goals with patients in physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy and speech therapy by using horticulture-based activities.
“The primary purpose was to develop an outdoor horticultural therapy area for use with our patients in the rehabilitation program,” said Betsy Roy, recreational therapist with Durham Regional Hospital. “Patients use the garden to work on balance, coordination, strength, cognition and fine motor skills. In addition, the garden area provides a therapeutic environment to enhance health and well-being.”
Development of the garden was a joint effort between Durham Regional Hospital and community organizations and businesses. Employees and family members of patients also donated various plants. The garden was dedicated in May and has been incorporated into therapy sessions with many patients since.
Primary donors include: Fitch Lumber and Hardware (Carrboro): donated all lumber for the wheelchair accessible garden boxes. Stone Bros. & Byrd (Durham): donated all soil for the garden boxes. Chapel Hill High School: students built a wheelchair accessible garden box. Orange High School: students built a wheelchair accessible garden box, a garden bench and planter for the space.