Short description of project idea :
People are nowadays becoming increasingly aware of the positive influence of Nature on their health. Nature, among others, fulfills their physical needs by providing unique sensory experiences. The constant desire to return to Nature may be associated with "innate feelings that people are part of all living things on Earth" (so-called Biophilia Theory). But also its mystery, depth, beauty, fragility and strength are what attract us at these days of rapidly changing Environment. We are more and more surrounded by inanimate things with monotonous, unchanging and ever-repeating rhythm and way of life that reduces our attention and flexibility. Some human senses may suffer from a lack of contact with nature. Most of the technologies work primarily with sight and hearing, but we also have other senses that weaken by less frequent use. Played down senses, such as smell and taste, are also important for our wellbeing. So called "3D perception" of the surrounding environment flattens to "two-dimensional reality". Obesity, decreased mobility and overall fitness are successive consequences. Contribution of Nature and Garden Therapy consists of strengthening the physical and mental health, improving relaxation and wellbeing and also shortens hospital stay and leads to reducing of the medicament consumption. Nature Therapy/Garden Therapy is defined as treatment and relaxation through contact with nature. The nature is represented by garden and as therapeutic remedy are used plants and work in garden. Garden Therapy has preventive effect on health, in social sphere and on relapses. The target group of this project is wide range of people with disadvantages, such as people with health disadvantages (different handicaps or developmental disorders), people after injuries, surgeries or people with mental illnesses. Garden therapy is an innovative method of therapy used not only, but also in palliative, end-of-life or survivorship care of patients. It will make it possible to use the above-mentioned benefits of nature to improve the quality of life of patients with life-threatening non-communicable diseases or long-term side effects of treatments. By improving mental and physical fitness, medication could often be reduced. Professionally led contact with nature supports mentally not only the patients themselves, but also their families and closest ones. It helps them accept inevitable and supports joint spending of time in long-term hospitals. We do garden therapy in the Czech Republic since 2010. We cooperated with partners from Austria and now we offer education and support to therapists, health and social facilities. We cooperate with several of them and have developed a mobile flower bed (so called “floramobil”) for them and in cooperation with them, see www.terapieprirodou.cz. We now share experience with partners from Slovakia, Slovenia, Great Britain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland. We perceive that the area of garden therapy is still too little anchored in the official health system. Facilities that use garden therapy face barriers and lack of skilled workers. Within the project, we want to realize an international research on the effects of garden therapy on the physical and psychological state of patients as well as on their medication (reduction of drug dosage), the overall contribution to improving the quality of life of patients and their closest ones. At the same time, the conditions for the work of medical staff are improving too. The results will support the development of a common methodology and the implementation of garden therapy as an effective part of health care. “Garden therapist” should be a separate qualified position within the health care in the future. We have deep experience with dozens of national and EU projects.
Profile of partners sought and expected role:
For the project, we are looking for partners – health care facilities, who provide palliative, end-of-life or survivorship care for patients. Ideally they already should do garden therapy, or should be planning to start with it, and at the same time they are willing to share experiences and engage in research. We also want to cooperate with universities, who will cover the research on the impact of garden therapy.
Name of the organisation:
Lipka - school facility for environmental education (CZ)