Therapeutic landscapes in a specialist therapeutic community for women : a pilot service evaluation

Cronin-Davis, Jane (2017) Therapeutic landscapes in a specialist therapeutic community for women : a pilot service evaluation. In: Royal College of Occupational Therapy - Specialist Section - Mental Health Conference; 14-15 Sep 2017, Birmingham, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Occupational therapists are cognisant of the impact and use of the environment in relation to a person’s health and well-being. There is currently a paucity of evidence related to the therapeutic use of grounds within hospital settings. We will present the findings of a pilot service evaluation conducted as joint collaboration between a university and local specialist therapeutic community for women with self-defeating behaviours: the Acorn Unit. The service evaluation was part of a final year occupational therapy Student as Co-Researchers (SCoRe) initiative on an undergraduate occupational therapy programme. The evaluation was conducted using semi-structured interviews to explore the Acorn Unit staffs’ perceptions (n=4) of the impact of the hospital grounds on the women’s’ health and well-being. Staff members on the unit recognise the perceived benefits and potential qualities of the grounds. Underpinning the service evaluation is the concept of the therapeutic landscape from health geography (Wood et al, 2013). The plan is to use the findings from this pilot for a further study which will explore the perceptions of service users on the Unit in relation to the hospital grounds and the potential influence on their own health and well-being. Research ethics was granted by the Retreat Hospital in York and the Health Research Committee at York St John University. Wood, V.J., Curtis, S.E., Gesler, W., Spencer, I.H., Close, H.J., Mason, J. and Reilly, J.G. (2013) Creating ‘therapeutic landscapes’ for mental health carers in inpatient settings: A dynamic perspective on permeability and inclusivity. Social Science & Medicine. (91) pp.112-129.

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