A Palliative Care + Community Garden Partnership Project
How Does Gardening Connection Work?
Benefits for Users
UX Map (Update 8/4)
Prototype - Newspaper Blog Post (Update 8/4)
Timeline of Project Development to Date
Implementation and Scaling the Idea
Closeness to nature and working in a community garden amongst others can be therapeutic for patients in both palliative care and hospice programs.
The experience can provide:
- A distraction.
- An opportunity to interact with the natural world, stimulating the senses.
- Reduction in pain perception and a decreased need for medication.
- An opportunity to connect to new people, as well an opportunity to enrich the relationship with one's caretaker if they decide to participate in the project together.
- An opportunity for families to share an activity that takes them out of the home, to an outside space where they can enjoy time together. They can also connect over gardening projects in the home.
- An opportunity to continue to contribute to one's community. How? By creating sustainability. By growing healthy food to share with those that need it. By contributing to the beautification of one's neighborhood. By being present.
- For caregivers - Working in a garden can help to decrease stress. By report this may be rejuvenating for the fatigue which they experience.
On site hospices often have gardens that connect patients to nature. Some sites have programming for patients that support them to work in the garden. Gardening Connection is for patients who are in at home programs and may not have exposure to gardens or nature. It provides them with an opportunity to connect to community, nature and nurture themselves and others. In the process they can continue to develop their identity and connect to new people, through to the end of life.
Might families forge stronger connections while participating in gardening activities and spending time in nature together, as a loved one approaches end of life?
Might the actions that a person carries out at the end of their life become part of their legacy that the family carries forward?
THE PROGRAM - HOW DOES GARDENING CONNECTION WORK?
This is a volunteer and hospitality program. It ignites passion as it promotes wellness and community for patients receiving at home palliative care services. Visiting nurses make referrals to the program for patients when they are caring for them in the home.
The program is flexible. There are a variety of opportunities for participation that one can move between as needed or desired. Caregivers and family members are welcome and encouraged to participate in all aspects of the program.
Each community garden is unique in set up and needs. Participants will learn what they can do to support a local garden and their community.
Possibilities for participation include:
At Home: Plant and nurture seedlings that may later be transplanted in a garden. One can participate alone, with a family member, or a caregiver. Gardening Connection volunteers will assist you at home, to get you set up. They will follow up with home visits, or by phone/Skype, to answer questions and share gardening tips!
In A Garden: Work on site in a garden side by side with garden members, family members, a caregiver, or with a designated volunteer garden buddy. Volunteer work tasks may include: planting, watering, weeding, harvesting, maintenance of planters and other community garden needs. Enjoying nature!
Visit a garden to relax, enjoy nature, and connect with others!
Participants can join community gatherings in a garden. These may include cultural events and communal meals.
Each garden community is unique with it's own organization and structure. Each one that would like to partner with Gardening Connection, to support and embrace their greater community, may consider how this might fit within their framework as they work to fulfill needs and towards goals.
The Idea has evolved based on feedback and insights from hospice nurses, a palliative care physician and community gardeners. (See the original Mock Up Prototype -Brochure attached.)
The iterated program is focused on engaging families, to strengthen connections at end of life, if a patient wants that. In addition it now offers hospitality as an option – spending time in a garden without working, in order to engage as many folk who would like to participate by simply spending time outside, connecting to others, in a garden.
Visiting Nurse - As a referral source
Family Members - As co-participants.
Caregiver - As co-participant.
Garden Members and Garden Volunteers
Connector - Working for Gardening Connection as a volunteer. Someone who volunteers or works for hospice with interest in gardening, or works in a garden and is interested in supporting patients. They are the go to person for patient and gardeners.
Benefits for Users:
Patient - A path for urban at home palliative patients without access to nature to gain access.
Visiting Nurse - An opportunity to offer a patient a nature program that may ignite passion and wellness through to the end of life.
Caregiver - A path for a caregiver in the city to access nature which can decrease stress, lessen fatigue.
Family - An opportunity for different generations living in a city to spend time together and create together. An opportunity for one at the end of life to share values with family, building something with and for our community is important.
Garden Members and Volunteers - An opportunity to extend programming to support vulnerable members within one's community. An opportunity to bring new volunteers, patients and families, into the garden.
Society - An opportunity to change the conversation on death and dying in our culture by bringing community members together on a regular basis, in a shared space where they interact in a natural way.
Prototype - Newspaper Blog Post (Related to the UX Map)
Created to test the assumption:
Families will be eligible for garden membership, if desired, after participating as general garden volunteers over a period of time, as part of Gardening Connection Program with a loved one who was at EOL, and has now passed away.
One gardener I spoke to mentioned that in some gardens volunteers are asked to work for a period of time, doing general garden work - cleaning, fixing structures, guarding the garden when open to the public, before being considered for membership. The prototype might be used to share with potential garden partners - How does the path to membership work with their garden?
PROTOTYPE/Brochure - Version 2. - The prototype was created to test the assumption that palliative care providers, nurses and doctors, would find this program feasible and advantageous to their patients.
The brochure can also be used to share with patients. Does this program resonate with them? Would they join?
Timeline of Project Development through 8/3/16
Continue to explore different community gardens.
Explore a local geriatric garden. What are they doing? Who is their referral source? What services does the garden have for users?
Explore oversight organizations such as greenthumbnyc.org
Make contacts with garden Principals via monthly garden meetings.
Reach out to contacts received by by gardener to date.
Meet with home hospice nurses to discuss the idea.
IMPLEMENTATION: Incorporating Hospice Patients Into Existing Gardens
Short-time frame for implementation
Reach out to local gardens as partners. Assess accessibility. Assess excitement for this project.
Long-time frame for implementation
Consider developing relationships within communities with clergy and community health centers as referral sources.
Explore bringing part of this program to inpatient hospice units that do not have gardens available. Consider partnering with inpatient recreational therapists.
Explore the idea of partnering with a community health organization or system to create a garden for a local community, building this Idea into the plan. Might this be a way to bring in extra services such as recreation therapists who would work with the patients in the garden?
Explore the role of this program for children receiving palliative care.
Scaling the Idea
Do a pilot project. Iterate based on feedback and a needs assessment.
Share the idea with oversight organizations and get their support to scale to other communities locally.
Share best practices with other communities and organizations in the long term.
Thank you to the team for your input and feedback!