Rivercities Garden Club

Meeting 09/03/00

Program Horticulture Therapy - Cammie Emory

Cammie Emory is a physical therapist, the activity coordinator and horticulture therapist of Schumpert's physical medicine and rehabilation center, the Alvin M Jackson Horticultural Conservatory.

Dr. Eric Bicknell trained at the Rusk Institute which had a huge horticultural area. He was impressed with the effectiveness of the program and brought back the ideas with him when he returned to Shreveport to set up his practice.

The conservatory is three stories high double pane glass and steel building. There is an outdoor courtyard. Birds, a parrot, turtles, and fish are the permanent residents of the center.

Horticulture therapy had its origins in the First World War to treat and reeducate disabled soldiers, & psychiatric activities. During World War II Carl Menninger led movement through Veterans Administration Hospital System. In another hospital setting, those patients who had no money to pay for the hospitalization were expected to help with the gardening and other outside activities. It was observed that people who were working outside became better in a shorter time period. A program of horticulture for rehabilitation was developed with emphasis on functional activities and vegetable gardening.

Horticulture therapy uses plants and plant related materials as tools to improve physical, intellectual, psychological and social well being of an individual. These activities get people to do something interesting which helps them increase endurance.

Plants parallel to human personality - germination and birth, nurture and care taking. There are seasonal changes and life stages, decline and death

Horticultural therapy provides an adaptable modality for schools, senior centers nursing homes drug treatment facilities, correction centers rehabilation facilities, and psychiatric hospitals. Treatment generally includes group sessions, which allow interaction between people. Such contact allows the patient to share his concerns and problems with other patients with the same problems. The patients do as much as possible for themselves. Martha Mitchell and Gennie Fauso demonstrate some of the therapeutic techniques.

Horticultural therapy is not a one way process. Mutual learning between staff and patients as to better ways to do things. Skills learned can carry over when patient goes home. A patient can make something that he can do on own which improves self esteem and help get through pain and debility. These activities show that many of things previously been done can be done while sitting in a wheelchair.

The center needs volunteers so that they could help to supervise the center when the permanent staff cannot be there so that the facility can stay open all week. It is estimated that the volunteer time would be one day a week per month. The volunteer could help with the patient activities or just listen. There is a need for someone to take the responsibility for the care of the animals. One could a little potted plant for each of the new patients admitted to the hospital Have all of the plants in the conservatory to be labeled. It is an approved Master Gardener activity. One can get in the required hours of service in this manner.

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