Critical Care Healing Garden

By 1st May 2023 September 20th, 2023 Charity, Uncategorised

Kurt Jackson has been involved with the creation of a Critical Care Healing Garden at Royal Cornwall NHS Hospital, Treliske, Truro, creating and donating artwork to bring a touch of nature to the heavily sanitised medical environment.

A large, previously unused and inaccessible quadrant courtyard below the hospital’s Critical Care Unit is in the process of transformation into a life-changing sensory garden of healing to benefit some of Cornwall’s most poorly patients.

Once complete, medical gases will be directly piped into the garden so that critically ill patients and their families can spend more time in nature. The garden itself, which is located immediately below the Critical Care Unit, will be filled with sensory plants, seating and dedicated areas for patient’s hospital beds.

Jackson has designed and created a selection of bird sculptures to sit on granite posts at various heights to sit throughout the garden. The staggered elevations and siting of the birds is such that some are low enough to run your hands over, but others are much higher so that patients unable to physically visit the garden will be able to capture glimpses of the birds through their window.

One of the project’s early champions and most well-known fundraisers is the explorer, photographer and co-founder of Survival International, Robin Hanbury-Tenison who in the early stages of the pandemic spent five weeks in intensive care with Covid-19 at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. Hanbury-Tenison credits Derriford Hospital’s healing garden for playing a crucial role in his recovery.

Robin Hanbury-Tenison since has raised around £100,000 to make the project happen.

Robin said: “It’s a sort of recognition of all the wonderful nurses who saved my life and all the physios later who made me fit again, because I really was incapable when I came out of hospital. It’s not just the treatment in ICU that matters, it’s the post-relief care”.

After ending up in a coma in Derriford Hospital – Robin was given a 5% chance of survival or recovery.

He added: “That moment when I opened my eyes, saw the flowers, felt the sun on my face and thought, I’m going to live”.

Robin continued: “Now they’re beginning to understand, really the healing power of nature is a reality. Even when you’re in intensive care, you’re really ill, in a coma and in intensive care like I was, being wheeled out into a garden really makes a difference”.

How you can help:

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust Charitable Fund are running a crowdfunder campaign to help support the project. Find out more here –

From their Just Giving fundraiser page:

“Early rehabilitation in critical illness has shown to be incredibly important. Inside a Critical Care Unit, patients can lose all sense of time and place as day blends into night and they stare at the same four walls for weeks on end. 

“Our garden will be a place for healing and rehabilitation, not only physical but for the mental and emotional self too. Smelling different scents, the sound of the breeze through the leaves and maybe some water features. 

“It gives people a grounding and a reminder of what they have to aim for to keep them pushing through their recovery and rehabilitation. 

“There is no truer saying than the Healing power of nature and no more so than in Cornwall where our patients are used to the outdoor life and being surrounded by this beauty daily. 

“We want to make sure being in critical care doesn’t take that opportunity away from our patients for long.”

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