Former patients, relatives and staff gathered for a special event to mark the first anniversary of the critical care garden in The James Cook University Hospital.
Everyone celebrated the garden’s milestone by reminiscing about the memories formed during their time using the green space.
Amy Peirse, who was one of the first patients to utilise the beautiful outdoor garden during her time in the critical care unit, returned to the garden to celebrate the one-year anniversary.
She said: “I used the garden for the entire duration of my stay, which meant it was nice to come down to a space surrounded by nature.
When you are in the ICU, you don’t get time to spend time in the outdoors. However, this garden enabled me and my family to spend some quality time soaking in the bright sunlight and breathing the fresh air.
“This hospital will always have a special place in my heart.”
Over the past year, the restorative space has helped patients, like Amy, to relax and unwind with their families and friends after going through a traumatic period.
Local artist Laura Johnston, who designed the garden, said: “The aim of the garden is to create an uplifting and restorative environment where patients and their families can meet outdoors, surrounded by plants and artworks.
“Just as the NHS holds us close when we are in dire need of help, the garden aims to be that comforting arm around a patient’s shoulders that helps calm them during their difficult time.”
The peaceful space has not only received positive feedback but has also aided the physical and mental recovery of patients.
Consultant clinical psychologist Graham Dyson was one of the staff members who was actively involved in the creation of the garden.
He said: “The critical care garden has been open a year now and it is starting to look established. It has trees, shrubs, plants, flowers, sculptures, shelter and seating. The garden has enabled patients to have time away from the clinical area, so they can aim towards normality from the overstimulation of the clinical environment.
The space has also been used by patients to meet their families, friends and even pets in a calm, safe and beautiful outdoor space. We have had comments that the positive impact on wellbeing has so far been immeasurable.”
Lisa Meehan, fundraising manager at Our Hospitals Charity added: “It is really inspiring and heartwarming to see how the critical care garden has allowed so many of our patients to spend some time in a peaceful and lovely space.
“We would like to thank everyone who supported us in creating this beautiful garden and I hope the space continues to bring cheer and positivity to patients, families and our staff.”
To support Our Hospitals Charity who are at the forefront of enhancing the lives of our patients and staff, visit www.southtees.nhs.uk/charity/donation/.