Love activity campaign inspires hospital gardening group in Wales

Physiotherapists in South Wales are encouraging patients to take part in some of their favourite activities, as part of the CSP’s Love Activity Hate Exercise? campaign.

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The Gorseinon Hospital gardening group with staff

After listening to suggestions from patients, physios at Gorseinon Hospital, which is part of ABMU health board, have organised a range of activities to help people get more active.

The activities include puzzle games, exercise and music classes and gardening.

Catrin Treharne, a community physiotherapist for the health board, said: ‘As physiotherapists we are synonymous with delivering exercise programmes, but people are more likely to engage in an activity than an exercise programme.

Hospital gardening group

Margaret Davies, who is recovering from an operation to her spine, is among the patients who have started looking after the hospital garden as part of the campaign.

‘I was living independently before and I want to get back to that,’ she said.

‘This campaign is good because it gets you out of the ward where it can be very boring.’

And Rita Clarke, who is being treated for a number of chronic conditions and had to have her left leg amputated due to ulcers, has been a keen gardener all her life and was delighted by the opportunity to help out in the garden.

‘If I am able to do an activity, I will do it. Gardening is my first choice,’ she said.

‘I am very determined. I won’t let anything stand in my way.’

Working from their wheelchairs, the gardening group have managed to weed a large raised bed in the hospital garden and have planted colourful geraniums and celosia.

For some of those involved the activity has provided them with a welcome opportunity to leave the confines of the hospital. Ernest Harris said: ‘This is the first time I have been out since the end of March. I’ve gardened all my life. It was my hobby.’

Meanwhile, fellow patient Isobel Morgan, said: ‘On a beautiful day there’s nothing that we can appreciate more than a garden full of flowers.’

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Patient Rita Clarke plants flowers in the hospital garden

Preventing deconditioning

Ms Treharne added that staff at the hospital were implementing the Love Activity Hate Exercise? Campaign alongside their continuing efforts to encourage patients, when appropriate, to get out of bed, get dressed and remain active while in hospital.

‘Patients can lose their routine and their sense of themselves while they are in hospital, and if they stay in bed for longer than 72 hours their muscles start to weaken,’ she said.

‘After 10 days, patients are completely deconditioned. They will have lost strength throughout their body. That could make a difference between them being up and active before to not being able to get out of bed. It affects some people so much that they can’t get to the chair or get to the toilet.

‘The benefits of activity for the patient are that it keeps them healthier for longer, they have a better quality of life and are less reliant on the NHS and care workers.’

ABMU health board has produced a short video showing the patients getting active in the hospital garden. To view the video visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hftnk61szOo

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