Two Occupational Therapy students have given a small internal courtyard a new lease of life.
The Rehabilitation Centre at Dunedin Public Hospital has adult patients stay from two weeks to three months during recovery. The facility has a small courtyard that, at the start of this project, was underutilised. Occupational Therapy students Ruby Coers and Kelsey Alexander investigated the potential therapeutic and functional uses of the courtyard, to make it more beneficial for rehabilitation patients.
Kelsey and Ruby produced a design for the area which was approved by the Centre's occupational therapist, Mason Anderson. They then negotiated to secure the resources they needed and set about implementing their design:
- Sponsorship of $1000 from Mitre 10 was used to buy plants and other resources for the courtyard. Kelsey and Ruby chose low maintenance flax and hebes, and scented herbs like mint and lavender.
- With Mason the students tidied up the courtyard themselves and put in the new plants, some in a raised vegetable garden. They also installed solar lights and a birdfeeder, and levelled the pavers for safe access by patients.
- A local Menz Shed made a picnic table, at which four people could sit in wheelchairs.
- Lack of secure anchor points for a shade sail meant that they had to use a sun umbrella instead.
- The Oamaru Stroke Support Group donated funds for purchase of a new wheelchair accessible barbecue and 3m gazebo.
- The Southern District Health Board is in the process of having a wheelchair ramp built.
An opening ceremony for the new courtyard was held on 3 September 2020. Mason Anderson says:
"The ceremony brought all community supporters together to acknowledge their kind contributions. Often community groups don't get to see what their support means to patients of the ward. This gave patients an opportunity to say thank you in person. This project placement has been a huge success for both the students and the patients, we look forward to offering project placements to students again."
Image credit: Southern District Health Board, used with permission