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The construction of a new horticultural therapy garden in the courtyard of the Child and Adolescent Centers is quickly making progress! The new addition will provide the space necessary for a new horticultural therapy program, but is also a piece of a larger vision to incorporate nature and the healing powers of the environment into treatment at Rogers Behavioral Health.
According to Therapeutic Landscapes, research proves that being in contact with nature lowers blood pressure, elevates moods, entices all five senses and contributes to a person’s well-being. A significant body of research confirms and sheds new light on what many people have known intuitively: that a regular connection with nature is beneficial and even vital for maintaining health (Marcus and Sachs, 1).
Rogers is utilizing all of its natural resources for the holistic health of its patients. At our original campus in Oconomowoc, set on 50 acres of natural beauty around two lakes, the landscape offers beautiful vistas for all patients to enjoy, through both inside sweeping views as well as outside activities. All summer, patients, visitors and staff have enjoyed an explosion of color and variety of the beautiful landscaped gardens which include original plantings of Mrs. Theresa Rogers. But there is more, walks on nature trails, boating and swimming complement our patients’ full therapeutic programming.
Building on this legacy, Rogers is implementing a master plan for therapeutic landscapes for specific clinical programing on each campus. The Guidelines for Design and Construction of Healthcare Facilities includes “Access to Nature” as one of eight key elements in the physical environment component of the Environment of Care.
Rogers plans to develop intentional landscape designs with specific therapeutic results in mind. Based on the clinical needs of the patients, the gardens—both landscaped or as wild natural settings—will benefit individuals as they seek to restore their overall health.
Therapeutic gardens can vary from vegetable gardens to planting natural meadows with native flowers, all of which have the same purpose: to promote health and healing. The clinical staff is working with the landscape architects in the design process, ensuring that the gardens are specific to their patients’ needs. Evidence-based design goes into each gardening area to ensure the best plan is chosen.
By incorporating nature to help our patients reach their therapeutic goals, Rogers hopes to create new lifestyle skills for patients to take with them and use throughout their lives.
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