This Sensory Garden was the inspiration of Daphne Sharp whose brother Robbie had used the NHS Foundation Trust’s services at St Georges Hospital, Stafford. After an incident on the ward which involved her brother, Daphne asked the staff why the patients couldn’t go out into the garden for fresh air. She was told it wasn’t a safe environment to take the patients into. She then requested a meeting with Mike Cooke, The Chief Executive of the Trust, and sought his permission for her to transform the land outside the ward into a Sensory Garden.
At this time Daphne knew very little about dementia. Caring for her brother and then visiting him in hospital, led to her undergoing Mental Health Training and gradually learnt more and more about Alzheimer’s. Daphne also served as a Governor Member with the Trust for a good many years.Her fundraising skills enabled a beautiful garden to be built with water features, gazebos and seating areas.
Daphne then became project leader and fund raiser to create the Sensory Garden, which was located between Baswich and Bromley Wards. This garden served a dual purpose, as not only did it benefit the patients on the ward, it also gave the nursing staff somewhere different to take the patients; they then also got to spend time in the fresh air and sunshine. Even in the winter months patients were wrapped up warmly and taken for a stroll around the garden which was again of great benefit to them. [Please click on heading to see photographs of the before and after Garden.
Baswich Ward Garden Before and After Renovation – Click to view
The project moved on a little further and Daphne, using her fundraising skills, and again with the input from nursing staff on Baswich Ward, designed a Sensory Room on Baswich Ward which would benefit dementia patients, particularly when they became agitated. Imagine being in a room with coloured lights dancing across the walls, the sounds of the sea in the background, and a fresh smell of lavender in the air – this is what the patients get when the enter the Sensory Room. The effects can be stimulating, therapeutic and has the ability to calm a person down.
The Sensory Room was designed to be a place where a person can be in a pleasant environment where the distractions of the outside world are completely absent. It presents attention grabbing moving colours, bright lights, soft-feel shapes and patterns designed to stimulate.