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Altern Ther Health Med. 2005 Jul-Aug;11(4):54-8.

Dementia wander garden aids post cerebrovascular stroke restorative therapy: a case study.

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Psychiatric Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Salem, Virginia, USA.


An increasing amount of literature suggests the positive effects of nature in healthcare. The extended life expectancy in the US and the consequent need for long-term care indicates a future need for restorative therapy innovations to reduce the expense associated with long-term care. Moving carefully selected stroke patients' sessions to the peaceful setting of a dementia wander garden, with its designed paths and natural stimuli, may be beneficial. Natural settings have been shown to improve attention and reduce stress--both important therapy objectives in many post-stroke rehabilitation programs. In this case study, using the dementia wander garden for restorative therapy of a non-dementia patient was a novel idea for the restorative therapy group, which does not have a horticultural therapy program. The dementia wander garden stage of the post-stroke rehabilitation helped the patient through a period of treatment resistance. The garden provided both an introduction to the patient's goal of outdoor rehabilitation and a less threatening environment than the long-term care facility hallways. In part because the patient was less self-conscious about manifesting his post-stroke neurological deficits, falling, and being viewed as handicapped when in the dementia wander garden setting, he was able to resume his treatment plan and finish his restorative therapy. In many physical and mental rehabilitation plans, finding a treatment modality that will motivate an individual to participate is a principal goal. Use of a dementia wander garden may help some patients achieve this goal in post-stroke restorative therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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