Horticultural Program Branches Off Child Life Program

Vol. 14, No. 4
Winter 2005

  • Winthrop Ranked Among Top 5% in Nation For Overall Clinical Excellence -- Two Years in a Row!

  • Winthrop Gets Highest Marks from Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

  • Cardiac Services Score High in NY State Department of Health Reports

  • Pulmonary Hypertension Program Helps Patients Breathe Easier, Live Healthier

  • Winthrop Neurosurgeon Performs "Bloodless" Spine Surgery

  • Horticultural Program Branches Off Child Life Program

  • Popular Teen Diabetes Group Focuses on Fun

  • Weight Control Program Fosters Family Involvement, Healthy Choices

  • Chronic Lung Disease Patients Breathe Easier Thanks to WEB

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Center Emphasizes Importance of Early Diagnosis & Treatment

  • Stroke Peer Visitor Program Keeps Smiles Going

  • Winthrop's Breast Imaging & Diagnostic Center: Accessible to Patients, Timely Reports for Physicians


  • Yuletide Ball

  • Jets Women's Organization & Project Sunshine Spread Cheer in Winthrop's Pediatric Center

    Back to Publications

  • (Pictured L to R): Donna N. Arabian, a horticultural consultant, and AnnMarie DiFrancesca, Winthrop's Director of the Child Life Program.
    Winthrop-University Hospital's Child Life Program has established a creative gardening therapy program for hospitalized children in the Pediatric Inpatient Center.

    "Horticultural therapy is a calming, soothing mastery experience ideal for hospitalized children," explained. Donna N. Arabian, a horticultural consultant who provides therapy in healthcare facilities. "Patients enjoy participating in gardening projects to enhance their environment, and the activities serve to normalize an often traumatic hospitalization."

    With Ms. Arabian's guidance, pediatric patients have an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of projects, including:

    • Group planting sessions
    • Creating a succulent garden inside clay pots
    • Potting sweet potatoes, ginger or medicinal aloe vera
    • Seasonal projects, including potting a mother's garden of annuals
    • Lessons in plant propagation and flower arranging
    "It's something different; something that gives the children an outlet for releasing stress," said AnnMarie DiFrancesca, Director of Winthrop's Child Life Program. "By digging and getting their hands dirty, they're not only having fun, but they take ownership of the project. More importantly, they have responsibility and control in the hospital environment."

    Gardening projects are provided at the bedside or in the Hospital's Child Life Activity Center, where children -- school-age through adolescence -- are able to be kids in an environment that promotes fun and relaxation. "It leads to a more normalized situation for them," Ms. Arabian said. And that's especially true for the older patients. "The program provides good socialization so that the teens take a break from sitting in their rooms," she explained.

    Parents and siblings also are encouraged to participate. "Through gardening therapy, family involvement in the planting program fosters interaction and togetherness in a non-medical setting," said Ms. Arabian.

    The Horticultural Therapy Program was established with generous support from Teens for Tots-Teen Angels. To offer support, and for more information, call (516) 663-2761.

    Winthrop's Pediatric Inpatient Center received a donation from five Hicksville schools that collected toys for patients in honor of Michael Magro, a Hicksville Middle School student, who passed away. Earlier in the fall, Ms. Magro's group also donated two 27" flat-screen TVs, two X-Boxes and an assortment of games and DVD movies for the patients.

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