25th July 2014

Yeovil Town Manager Gary Johnson opened the new Dementia friendly gardens at Yeovil Hospital’s Magnolia House yesterday.


Magnolia ward is an assessment and treatment ward for older people who suffer from mental health problems but predominantly for people who suffer from dementia. The nursing staff work closely with patients families and carers to provide individualized care, to identify the patients future care needs and work closely with other professionals, the patient and their family to plan the patients discharge from the ward.


The ward has received considerable investment over the last 12 months aimed at improving the environment for our patients.


The Yeovil manger arrived to find a totally themed garden at the hospital with green and white bunting, kit pictures, flags and posters as our pictures show.


Hours of work had been put in by nursing assistants and Dawn Turnbull and Barry Crossan to turn the garden into a shrine to Yeovil Town and several of the staff where dressed in Yeovil shirts.


After some strawberries and a cream tea Gary was given a conducted tour of the facility and planted a tree (well put a liitle bit of earth into the hole like HRH does!!)  and his visit certainly gave the patients a lift on such a wonderfully sunny afternoon.


The ward is currently undergoing internal refurbishment which will lead to every patient having a single bedroom and 7 bedrooms will have en-suite toilet and shower facilities. This will improve privacy and dignity on the ward.


In addition to the internal refurbishment the ward has also had its garden redeveloped to ensure patients have access to safe and therapeutic outside space.


Patients with dementia have the same needs for outside space as everyone else. Research from the Alzheimers Society and the University of Sterling identified the benefits of having an accessible garden which include:


  • Being able to get out in the fresh air and natural light
  • Getting exercise
  • Relaxing in the garden
  • Providing a sense of wellbeing
  • Being able to do things they would have done at home.


The Magnolia ward garden has:

  • A sensory area with plants that stimulate the sense of smell, grasses that blow and rustle in the wind, and a water feature which aids relaxation
  • Raised flower beds that are accessible to both disabled and able bodied people. Patients have planted and grown vegetables including lettuce, courgettes, and cucumber as well as strawberries, tomatoes. This has provided patients with a sense of pleasure and satisfaction at the end results.
  • A potting bench used by patients to pot plants
  • Bird bath and bird feeders to attract birds
  • A secure and safe outside space where patients are able to wander and continued to be observed by nursing staff. The floor is smooth and on one level so that patients can walk around safely.
  • A summerhouse which provides an important shelter in hot weather but also allows for the garden to be used when the weather isn’t as nice