Summary: Although horticultural interventions have potential therapeutic effects on patients’ clinical and psychological outcomes, there is a lack of scientific research based on the experience of elderly post-stroke patients involved in therapeutic gardening during their rehabilitation program. This paper explores post-stroke patients’ experience of a person-centered therapeutic gardening intervention within their rehabilitation programs, by: 1) deepening the comprehension of their own psycho-social experience; and 2) evaluating whether therapeutic gardening is perceived by patients as an occasion to foster their engagement toward rehabilitation and self-care. A qualitative phenomenological study was conducted based on semi-structured interviews and diaries of 22 neurological post-stroke patients. Five main themes were identified from interviews and diaries: 1) the positive experience of nature, 2) therapeutic gardening as a protected self-expression space, 3) contact with nature as a boost for self-efficacy, 4) the plant as a catalyst of the patient-therapist relationship, 5) therapeutic gardening as a bridge between the hospital environment and the outside world. Post-stroke patients who engage in therapeutic gardening perceived it as a way to foster their active role in medical care, enabling a proactive and positive attitude towards disease management. It is of vital importance that therapeutic gardening interventions are appropriately evaluated in order to develop the existing evidence base.
Barello, S., Graffigna, G., Menichetti, J., Sozzi, M., Savarese, M., Bosio, A. C., Corbo, M., The Value of a Therapeutic Gardening Intervention for Post-Stroke Patients’ Engagement During Rehabilitation: An Exploratory Qualitative Study, <<JOURNAL OF PARTICIPATORY MEDICINE>>, 2016; (8): N/A-N/A [https://hdl.handle.net/10807/91743]