Effect of horticultural therapy on patients under palliative care

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Effect of horticultural therapy on patients under palliative care


Author: Kan, Wai Yin
Title: Effect of horticultural therapy on patients under palliative care
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2012
Subject: Gardening -- Therapeutic use.
Palliative treatment.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Nursing
Pages: xiv, 151 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2527583
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6663
Abstract: Palliative care patients suffered from advanced, terminal illness having a progressive deteriorating general condition which affected their quality of life. Horticultural therapy utilizes horticultural activities and involves the relationship between humans and nature to improve the functioning and general well-being of people. This study aimed at investigating the effect of horticultural therapy on and experience of patients under palliative care in Hong Kong. A two-week intensive horticultural therapy programme was conducted for the palliative care patients. The study adopted a mixed method design. The quality of life of palliative care patients was assessed by the Quality-of-life Concerns in the End of Life Questionnaire (QOLC-E). Demographic and clinical information was also collected. The relationship between variables and effect of the horticultural therapy on their quality of life were analysed using IBM SPSS Statistics 17.0 software. Field observation and unstructured interviews were done to collect data on patients' experiences of horticultural therapy. Field notes and transcribed interview scripts were analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The quality of life of palliative care patients as assessed by the QOLC-E was 6.59 out of 10 (SD: 1.18, N=29). It implied that they had fair quality of life. The pain level and financial condition of patients were moderately correlated with their quality of life. Despite an improvement in the quality of life scores, horticultural therapy did not show a statistically significant difference in improving the quality of life among palliative care patients. Triangulation of data was performed in the data analysis. Six main themes on the horticultural experience emerged: (1) horticultural therapy made me happy; (2) horticultural therapy brought new learning experiences; (3) horticultural therapy allowed me to go through life; (4) horticultural therapy alleviated negative effects of illness; (5) horticultural therapy facilitated sharing with others and the development of interpersonal relationships; and (6) horticultural therapy gave me satisfaction. The study is probably one of the pioneer studies examining the application of horticultural therapy on palliative care patients. It helps increase understanding on the effect on their quality of life and their experience of horticultural therapy, which contributes to the scientific knowledge base in the palliative care field. It also provided hints for improving palliative nursing practice. More efforts should be placed on managing pain, physical symptoms and existential distress among palliative care patients. It is suggested that horticultural therapy be integrated into palliative care practices for possible improvement of patients' general well-being and quality of life.

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