Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Garden will help those with disabilities lead more independent lives - Poots

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

A new £45,000 rehabilitation garden at Musgrave Park Hospital will help those with disabilities to lead more fulfilling, independent lives.

That is the message from Health Minister Edwin Poots, who will officially open the new facility in Belfast later today. The garden was designed to provide a rehabilitation and therapeutic environment to enable wheelchair patients, and patients who have been fitted with artificial limbs to develop the necessary functional skills in the use of their new wheelchair or prosthesis.

Minister Poots said: “Spending time outside in a garden has been shown to positively affect a person’s emotions and improve their sense of well-being. Relaxing in this peaceful environment can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

“With its innovative mixture of different surfaces, from grass to bark and cobblestones, the garden will help patients with disabilities to learn to cope with surfaces that they will encounter in their daily lives. The wooden ramp will be help patients to learn how to negotiate going up and down a wheelchair access slope.”

Referring to the involvement of members of the Prosthetic User Forum at Musgrave Park Hospital in the design of the garden, Minister Poots added: “Bringing real-life experiences to the table and incorporating those ideas into the design of the garden will ensure its success.

“This garden is a magnificent facility which can only have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of all who use it - patients and their families, as well as staff and visitors. I have no doubt that it will help many people with disabilities to lead more fulfilling and independent lives.”

Colm Donaghy, Chief Executive Belfast Health and Social Care Services added: “I am delighted this innovative garden has opened in the grounds of Musgrave Park Hospital. We hope the garden will provide a rehabilitative and therapeutic environment for patients, and that it will be used as a quiet and relaxed space by their relatives and friends.”

Notes to editors:

1. The scheme was funded by the Health and Social Care Board.

2. The Limb Fitting Centre, which is part of Regional Prosthetics Service, works with people from across Northern Ireland who have had amputation surgery, to provide, develop and maintain prosthetic limbs. Military veterans also avail of this service.

3. Based at Musgrave Park Hospital, the centre provides both inpatient and outpatient services. It also provides a pre-amputation consultation and counselling service. Patients will be assessed by a Social Worker, Occupational Therapist, Dietician and where necessary given special psychological advice.

4. The Prosthetic User Forum of the Regional Prosthetic Service has now been in place for several years and they are a very pro-active group who contribute significantly to the development and sustainability of the Service.

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