(October 3, 2013) Last spring, the Horticulture Group took root at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. The inpatient Therapeutic Recreation Department and outpatient program of Inova Rehabilitation Center are facilitating the program. It is designed for patients recovering from traumatic illness or injury.
While gardening has long been a component of Therapeutic Recreation, the Horticulture Group has an additional goal of bringing together clients from both the inpatient and outpatient settings to share challenges and support one another. “We hope this will be an effective therapeutic modality to help patients heal, feel hopeful about their rehab experience and achieve their personal goals,” says Paula Berntsen, CTRS.
The group meets weekly in the Therapeutic Recreation Pavilion. The first patients in the program planted seedlings (flower, vegetable and herb) indoors and transplanted them outside. Raised beds allow for wheelchair access and a supportive spot assists patients working on standing tolerance.
Funded in part by generous donors, the project got off to a strong start thanks to nursing students from Northern Virginia Community College. During their time at Inova Rehabilitation Center, students took great interest in donating plants, helping with transport, and assisting and socializing with patients. Therapists have also been in contact with area nurseries for support.
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