New Sensory Garden Opens at Queen Margaret Hospital

Archived news: published on Thursday 26 Nov 2015 by NHS Fife

Sensory Garden QMH

Sensory Garden QMH

An innovative sensory garden for patients at Queen Margaret Hospital has been officially opened.

The ‘Forget-Me-Not’ garden, developed in consultation with ward staff and patients’ families, provides a safe and stimulating environment for patients within Wards 3 & 4 (Older People’s Mental Health).

Designed to follow dementia guidelines best practice, the garden has been created within an internal courtyard and provides a private space that can be used both for patient relaxation and family visits, as well as for a range of activities to promote patient wellbeing.

Building work and extensive planting has taken place and accessibility improved. The garden now incorporates numerous flowerbeds and planters, a range of garden furniture, solar lighting, an outdoor music system and an astroturf area.

In addition, windows surrounding the garden have been fitted with one-way privacy screens printed with images of Fife. The screens allow patients to look out of the garden windows onto a range of well-known landmarks including the Forth Road Bridge and Dunfermline Abbey, evoking happy memories, whilst at the same time allowing staff to maintain patient privacy and security.

The creation of the garden has been a collaborative effort between NHS Fife and the local community. Staff, patients’ families, local groups and businesses have all been involved in supporting the development, with funding provided through the NHS Fife Endowment Fund, a wide range of fund-raising activities and donations from individuals and businesses.

Allan Burns, NHS Fife Chairman, said: “Over the past two years the garden has been transformed from an unused space to a vibrant and stimulating environment.

“None of this would have been possible without the hard work and generosity of patients’ families, staff and the local community. We would like to thank all those involved on this project, which will have huge benefits for patients.”

Nicola Hurst, Community Psychiatric Nurse, said: “The Forget-Me-Not garden, named in agreement with staff and families, gives patients the opportunity to enjoy fresh air in a relaxing and safe space, and also provides a private area for patients and their families to get together.

“Importantly, there are multiple associated therapeutic benefits for patients. Being involved in activities such as caring for plants promotes wellbeing and reduces feelings of helplessness. We hope that the garden will help to promote positive mood change, potentially reducing medication needs.

“The garden provides multisensory stimulation, allowing opportunity for self expression and reinforcing a sense of the self.”

To mark the official opening, a celebratory tea was held with patients, families, staff and project supporters.

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