Horticultural therapy in dementia care: a literature review
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Horticultural therapy in dementia care: a literature review

Marianne Blake Health and social care student, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Dundee, Scotland
Gary Mitchell Dementia care advisor, Four Seasons Health Care, Irish Regional Office, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Aim To present a narrative review of the empirical literature on the use of horticultural therapy in dementia care.

Method A comprehensive literature search, conducted in December 2014, resulted in the selection of 15 primary research articles for review. Of these, three used qualitative methods, five used quantitative methods and seven used mixed methodology. The articles were critically appraised, and the narrative synthesis used a thematic approach whereby prominent themes from the articles were grouped to form representative themes.

Findings Three main themes emerged from the narrative synthesis: the emotional health of people living with dementia, their perceived self-identity and their levels of engagement.

Conclusion Horticultural therapy can be beneficial. At a macro-level, it is an inexpensive therapy that does not require specialist training to deliver. At a micro-level, it enhances the wellbeing of people living with dementia. Recommendations are made to promote access to appropriate horticultural therapy for people living with dementia, and for further research in this area.

Nursing Standard. 30, 21, 41-47. doi: 10.7748/ns.30.21.41.s44



Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Received: 15 April 2015

Accepted: 15 June 2015