"The University of Virginia Children's Medical Center recognizes the need for an improved reponse to families suffering the loss of a child based on extensive feedback from families over the course of two years. In keeping with the Children's Medical Center's mission and value statement of Family Centered Care, we further recognize a need for a comprehensive and coordinated bereavement program."
From "The Many Faces of Horticultural Therapy," an article in the American Horticulturist magazine in August of 1991:
Each week, about ten inpatients-and sometimes some outpatients as well-ranging from age 5 to 20 years are busy in its ten-by-twenty-four-foot greenhouse, two raised beds, and herb garden. They may have had amputations or brain injuries, or have cancer, cerebral pausy, spinabifida, mental retardation, or visual impairments.
Each activity is designed to improve a specific skill. Watering with a hose or watering can, raking and digging soil, and moving potted plants improves gross motor skills of the arms and body. Fine motor skills, such as finger dexterity and eye-hand coordination, are developed through planting seeds, weeding and pruning, using a spray bottle, removing harmful bugs from plants, and making and using plant identification labels.
Basic tactile awareness-smell and touch-is enhanced by observing fragrant flowers and herbs, the textural differences between sand and peat moss and perlite, and between wet and dry potting mixtures, and differneces in air temperature. Visual discrimination is increased by plant and flower identification tasks. The clients' ability to listen and remember is improved through following directions, for instance, to "find the plant with the large flowers," and through distinguishing different sounds made by beans and other seeds in a shaker.
Participants learn about social interaction, too, when they work and socialize with other patients, staff, and volunteers. Raking or hoeing can help lessen aggressive behavior, and caring for plants rarely fails to stengthen a youngster's self-image and increase a sense of responsibility.
'Since the horticulture program exists on donations, volunteers are priceless!'...Members of the Rotary Club designed and built the garden's raised bed. Local nurseries and home building supply stores donated tools and landscaping material. Giant Food financed the greenhouse, and Master Gardeners helped in a number of ways."