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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 31 March 2022

Meabh Bonham-Corcoran, Alexandra Armstrong, Amy O’Briain, Amy Cassidy and Niall Turner

This review aims to identify the commonly used nature-based therapies, the cohorts that benefit from these interventions, and the potential environmental impact of…

Abstract

Purpose

This review aims to identify the commonly used nature-based therapies, the cohorts that benefit from these interventions, and the potential environmental impact of nature-based therapies.

Design/methodology/approach

An integrative review methodology was taken. The literature was analysed and synthesised through thematic analysis.

Findings

Three themes emerged from the analysis: categories of nature-based therapies; benefits of nature-based therapies; and the gains from nature-based therapies are not universal. Evidence of physiological, psychological, social, vocational and quality of life benefits from participation in nature-based therapies was evident in the literature. However, there was insufficient empirical evidence of the benefits for the environment.

Practical implications

Occupational therapists assist populations across the life course. Consequentially, they can be found working in a diverse range of clinical contexts. This review asserts that nature-based therapies could be a positive addition in many of these contexts. Further, while engagement in activities in natural environments is frequently used by occupational therapists practicing within institution environments, there is evidence to support its use in community service models and potentially in public health strategies.

Originality/value

This integrative review brings together evidence on a diverse range of nature-based therapies, cohorts, associated benefits and factors that influence these. The lack of empirical evidence on the benefits of nature-based therapies for the environment is acknowledged as a gap in the literature

Details

Irish Journal of Occupational Therapy, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-8819

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 October 2019

Julie Barrett, Simon Evans and Neil Mapes

The purpose of this paper is to examine the recent evidence relating to green (nature-based) dementia care for people living with dementia in long-term accommodation and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the recent evidence relating to green (nature-based) dementia care for people living with dementia in long-term accommodation and care settings (housing for older people that provides both accommodation and care, such as residential care homes, nursing homes and extra care housing schemes). The review formed part of a pilot study exploring interaction with nature for people living with dementia in care homes and extra care housing schemes in the UK. Rather than a comprehensive systematic or critical literature review, the intention was to increase understanding of green dementia care to support the pilot study.

Design/methodology/approach

The review draws together the published and grey literature on the impacts of green (nature-based) dementia care, the barriers and enablers and good practice in provision. People living with dementia in accommodation and care settings are the focus of this review, due to the research study of which the review is part. Evidence relating to the impacts of engaging with nature on people in general, older people and residents in accommodation and care is also briefly examined as it has a bearing on people living with dementia.

Findings

Although interaction with the natural environment may not guarantee sustained wellbeing for all people living with dementia, there is some compelling evidence for a number of health and wellbeing benefits for many. However, there is a clear need for more large-scale rigorous research in this area, particularly with reference to health and wellbeing outcomes for people living with dementia in accommodation and care settings for which the evidence is limited. There is a stronger evidence base on barriers and enablers to accessing nature for people living with dementia in such settings.

Research limitations/implications

The literature review was conducted to support a pilot study exploring green (nature-based) dementia care in care homes and extra care housing schemes in the UK. Consequently, the focus of the review was on green dementia care in accommodation and care settings. The study, and thus the review, also focussed on direct contact with nature (whether that occurs outdoors or indoors) rather than indirect contact (e.g. viewing nature in a photograph, on a TV screen or through a window) or simulated nature (e.g. robot pets). Therefore, this paper is not a full review of all aspects of green dementia care.

Originality/value

This paper presents an up-to-date review of literature relating to green dementia care in accommodation and care settings. It was successful in increasing understanding to support a pilot study exploring opportunities, benefits, barriers and enablers to interaction with nature for people living with dementia in care homes and extra care housing schemes in the UK. It demonstrated the impacts, value and accessibility of nature engagement in these settings and identified gaps in the evidence base. This review and subsequent pilot study provide a strong platform from which to conduct future research exploring green dementia care in accommodation and care settings.

Details

Housing, Care and Support, vol. 22 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1460-8790

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 March 2017

Dorthe Varning Poulsen

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive argument for nature-based therapy (NBT) for veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome. It is the aim to generate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive argument for nature-based therapy (NBT) for veterans with post-traumatic stress syndrome. It is the aim to generate an overview of the evidence for NBT to the target group. A review of available scientific literature within the field, has been comprehensively conducted. This work is the foundation for the recommendations to decision makers and politicians.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides a conceptual analyses and a general review of the literature. Following steps have been conducted. Based on the research question, relevant work (scientific papers) have been identified using search terms in English within the three areas the target group (veterans), the diagnosis (post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD) and treatment (NBT). Study-quality and evidence level have been assessed and discussed.

Findings

The findings show a wide variation according to the interventions the nature setting, the length and frequency of the NBT session as well as the health outcome measures. The studies demonstrated a positive impact on the PTSD symptoms, quality of life and hope. None of the studies found negative impact of the interventions. Being in a group of other veterans facing the same problems was highlighted as well. Some studies measured the ability to return to workforce for the veterans and found NBT beneficial in that process.

Research limitations/implications

The limitation of the research due to the methods of identifying studies. The purpose of this was to give an overview of existing literature, and there can be studies, that are not found in this process. Including qualitative and quantitative methods are useful in a process of understanding the impact of NBT for veterans with PTSD. The quantitative studies, which unfortunately are few, can give information of the extent to which the treatment affects the symptoms of PTSD. Seen in the perspective of the burden for the veterans suffering from PTSD and the economic burden for society, the process of synthesizing the research in the field in order to generate a fundament seems necessary.

Practical implications

This policy papers are useful in order to make recommendations for politicians and decision makers as well as practitioners.

Social implications

The burden of suffering from PTSD is heavy for the veterans and their family. The society must drive forward the development of new and better evidence-based treatment programs for veterans with PTSD. NBT might be a step in the right direction of this.

Originality/value

It is well-known that there are an increase in the number of veterans diagnosed with PTSD. Generally the drop-out rate of the veterans is high in conventional treatment and it is found that veterans experience some side effects from medical treatment. NBT is, in existing research, found to have a positive impact on the veterans, and therefore, it should be part of future treatment programs for veterans with PTSD.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 16 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2007

Ambra Burls

Drawing on the author's multi‐method research on the viability of specific ecotherapy practitioner training and curriculum design, this paper debates how the use of…

2022

Abstract

Drawing on the author's multi‐method research on the viability of specific ecotherapy practitioner training and curriculum design, this paper debates how the use of ecotherapeutic approaches can provide a two‐pronged system to achieve both individual health (at micro level) and public and environment health outcomes (at macro level). The research sought the views of service users, practitioners and educationalists through use of interviews, focus groups, a nominal group, and an ethnographic case study group. This research raised other considerations: namely, that people seeking personal recovery also, through stewardship of green spaces, may achieve unanticipated social capital and natural capital outcomes and thereby meet current multi‐disciplinary policy targets. This added social value has not been previously considered as an important dimension in people's well‐being and recovery from ill health or social exclusion. Such outcomes emerge from the idea of green spaces becoming a ‘product’ delivered to the community by people whose pursuit of personal recovery also directly contributes to improved public mental health.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 6 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 4 September 2018

Woody Caan

147

Abstract

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

Article
Publication date: 2 May 2019

Mikkel Hjort, W. Mike Martin and Jens Troelsen

The purpose of this paper is to develop a design strategy that investigates the systematic use of interdisciplinary knowledge through a transparent decision-making…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop a design strategy that investigates the systematic use of interdisciplinary knowledge through a transparent decision-making process. The study identifies relevant design parameters that should be considered in the development of this design strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data were collected through observations of the design process of two new sport facilities, meetings with sport, well-being and aging experts and through semi-structured interviews with end-users. The development of the proposed design strategy is based on a methodology with elements from “Knowledge to Action (KTA),” “Action research” and a “List of value concepts.” The rigid timetable guaranteed systematic progress, where both knowledge from the end-users and experts were incorporated throughout the decision-making process.

Findings

The two case studies documented results involving end-users and experts in a systematic way. In conclusion, it was apparent that the use of interdisciplinary collaboration informed the design outcome.

Practical implications

Based on the two cases, the following advice can be given to the architectural profession: architects should use the KTA model or similar in order to target the search for relevant interdisciplinary knowledge and ensure that relevant evidence is involved in the design process of upcoming projects regarding sport and recreation. Architects should make the design process transparent so that one can see which design decisions have been made through the design process. This must be done to ensure that there is greater coherence between vision and practice.

Originality/value

The study showed how architects could import knowledge, skills and values from other disciplines such as environmental psychology and active living research to improve the decision-making process of future sport and recreation projects. It was also clear that this design decision process could be made more transparent in the effort to allow the various stakeholders to take ownership of the resulting design outcomes.

Details

Archnet-IJAR: International Journal of Architectural Research, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2631-6862

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 17 December 2018

Barb Toews, Amy Wagenfeld and Julie Stevens

The purpose of this paper is to understand the impact of a short-term nature-based intervention on the social-emotional well-being of women incarcerated on a mental health…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the impact of a short-term nature-based intervention on the social-emotional well-being of women incarcerated on a mental health unit in a state prison.

Design/methodology/approach

This research used a mixed method approach with individual interviews, a focus group and a visual analog scale (VAS).

Findings

Qualitative results found that women appreciated the planting party and the way the plants improved the physical environment. Women were also emotionally and relationally impacted by their participation and practiced skills related to planting and working with people. Quantitative results indicate that women were happier, calmer, and more peaceful after the intervention than before.

Research limitations/implications

Study limitations include sample size, self-report data and use of a scale not yet tested for reliability and validity.

Practical implications

Findings suggest that nature-based interventions can serve as an adjunct to traditional mental health therapies in correctional settings. Nature-based interventions can support women’s goals to improve their mental health.

Social implications

Findings suggest that nature-based interventions can serve to improve relationships among incarcerated women, which may make a positive impact on the prison community. Such interventions may also assist them in developing relational and technical skills that are useful upon release.

Originality/value

To date, there is limited knowledge about the impact of nature-based interventions on incarcerated individuals coping with mental health concerns.

Details

International Journal of Prisoner Health, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1744-9200

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 June 2019

Simon Chester Evans, Julie Barrett, Neil Mapes, June Hennell, Teresa Atkinson, Jennifer Bray, Claire Garabedian and Chris Russell

The benefits of “green dementia care”, whereby people living with dementia are supported to connect with nature, are increasingly being recognised. Evidence suggests that…

Abstract

Purpose

The benefits of “green dementia care”, whereby people living with dementia are supported to connect with nature, are increasingly being recognised. Evidence suggests that these benefits span physical, emotional and social spheres and can make a significant contribution towards quality of life. However, care settings often present specific challenges to promoting such connections due to a range of factors including risk-averse cultures and environmental limitations. The purpose of this paper is to report on a project that aims to explore the opportunities, benefits, barriers and enablers to interaction with nature for people living with dementia in residential care and extra care housing schemes in the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were gathered from 144 responses to an online survey by managers/staff of extra care housing schemes and care homes in the UK. In depth-case studies were carried out at three care homes and three extra care housing schemes, involving interviews with residents, staff and family carers.

Findings

A wide variety of nature-based activities were reported, both outdoor and indoor. Positive benefits reported included improved mood, higher levels of social interaction and increased motivation for residents, and greater job satisfaction for staff. The design and layout of indoor and outdoor spaces is key, in addition to staff who feel enabled to promote connections with nature.

Research limitations/implications

This paper is based on a relatively small research project in which the participants were self-selecting and therefore not necessarily representative.

Practical implications

The paper makes some key recommendations for good practice in green dementia care in extra care housing and care homes.

Social implications

Outdoor activities can promote social interaction for people living with dementia in care settings. The authors’ findings are relevant to the recent policy focus on social prescribing.

Originality/value

The paper makes some key recommendations for good practice in green dementia care in extra care housing and care homes.

Details

Working with Older People, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1366-3666

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 29 October 2020

Nicole J. Albrecht

In the 1950s, Einstein predicted that if humankind is to survive, we will need a substantially new manner of thinking. He believed that our task in life must be to widen…

Abstract

In the 1950s, Einstein predicted that if humankind is to survive, we will need a substantially new manner of thinking. He believed that our task in life must be to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its infinite beauty. The combined disciplines of mindfulness, ecopsychology, and sustainability education offer humanity a chance to develop this new way of thinking and being in the world. In this chapter, I describe my experience of teaching and designing curriculum that integrates contemplative practices with sustainability education in the space of higher education. The course I will be discussing, where nature-based mindfulness activities are offered, is called “MindBody Wellness.” As a part of the course, it is hoped that students will cultivate an expanded vision of the self—one known as the “ecological self”—a term coined in the 1980s. The ecological self is perceived to be a wide, expansive, or field-like sense of self, which ultimately includes all life forms, ecosystems, and the Earth. Preliminary research in the field indicates that cultivating loving-kindness and practicing mindfulness leads to a greater level of nature connectedness and need to care for and protect the natural world. However, my colleagues and I did not find this to be the case and needed to explicitly give students instructions to care for the environment.

Details

Exploring Self Toward Expanding Teaching, Teacher Education and Practitioner Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-262-9

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 8 October 2021

Rosaline Keenan, Ryan Lumber, Miles Richardson and David Sheffield

Visiting and connecting with nature through psychological interventions improves well-being within the general population. However, few such interventions have been…

Abstract

Purpose

Visiting and connecting with nature through psychological interventions improves well-being within the general population. However, few such interventions have been conducted in clinically relevant populations. This paper aims to address this gap by investigating the effectiveness of a nature-based psychological intervention within a clinically relevant sample.

Design/methodology/approach

An experimental design using a noticing Three Good Things in Nature (TGTiN) task during a nature based or urban (control) walk was conducted with nature connectedness, well-being, positive and negative affect measured at baseline, post and six-week follow-up. Individuals living with depression and/or anxiety (n = 50; 39 having a diagnosis) were randomly allocated to 30 min walking in nature or urban environments for five consecutive days.

Findings

An ANCOVA, with age as co-variate, showed a significant effect of time by condition on all variables: nature connectedness ηp2 = 0.34; positive affect ηp2 = 0.42; negative affect ηp2 = 0.66; well-being ηp2 = 0.29. Post-hoc tests indicated a significant increase in nature connectedness and positive affect in the nature versus an urban walk at post and follow-up. Negative affect decreased in the nature walk at post intervention, while well-being was significantly greater in the nature walk at follow-up.

Originality/value

The TGTiN intervention effectively improves positive affect, and well-being in clinically relevant populations, although replication with a larger sample is warranted.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

Keywords

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