Therapy Garden, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK
Therapy Garden, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK

Therapy Garden, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK

The creation of a therapy garden for Plymouth ICU rehabilitation centre, a first for the UK

Patients spend prolonged periods of time in the ICU rehab centre at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, with very little natural stimulation. Through a dedicated team, an inner courtyard situated on bedrock is put aside for a new therapy garden. Working alongside the architect for the creation of an outdoor / indoor room, the space lends itself to a woodland garden. The area gets very little direct sunlight and is surrounded by c. 30 metre tall walls. The staff, family members and volunteers started a garden, but required a full design taking into account the needs of the patients, staff and visitors. The pathways are wide enough to take large hospital beds and c. 6 members of staff per patient at any one time. Patients and delirium is a real problem within the ICU rehab centre, therefore the therapy garden will offer respite, a prolonged physical and mental need for the natural environment by patients, staff and visitors, as well as a place to socialise, laugh, cry and simply rest. Tall trees will create dappled shade while an under-storey of herbaceous perennials, ferns, ornamental grasses and edibles will create a lush, verdant woodland in the middle of the building. Patients, seeing the same pale walls and blue curtains day in and day out, requested a green oasis with dashes of colour, scent, texture and seasonal interest.

This is a first for an ICU rehabilitation centre in the UK and we are delighted to be designing this space for current and future patients, staff and visitors.