Section: News

St. Joseph Hospital patients add garden therapy to their treatment


Eureka (July 8, 2013) – Summertime means time outdoors for patients of Inpatient Rehabilitation at St. Joseph Hospital. Thanks to a patio connected to the unit, patients are now able to add some "garden therapy" to their healing process. On a recent bright, sunny day, several patients were able to visit the garden on the General Hospital campus. They dug right in, getting their hands dirty weeding and planting flowers. They worked right alongside the therapists at St. Joseph Hospital.

Even though the garden has been in existence for more than 20 years, this year it has a special touch. Dan Fini, a former patient of inpatient rehab, is now volunteering his time in the garden and leading the effort. "I wanted to help out and I can do that by keeping up the garden and making sure the plants are growing," said the stroke survivor. He helped patient Katey Ringle plant new flowers in the garden, who seemed to enjoy every minute. While gardening truly is work, it's also therapeutic. The garden was so popular among patients that Dan agreed to come one day every week for the remainder of the summer and donate his gardening skills.

While recognizing that rehabilitation can be very challenging, Jim Peaker, director of rehabilitation services for St. Joseph Hospital, said it's activities such as gardening that put the fun in exercising."Many of us appreciate the restorative aspects of connecting with nature," Jim said. "Dan and the therapy staff give that opportunity to our patients, taking therapy to a new level as they incorporate gardening into the patients' therapy day," he added.

St. Joseph Hospital's medical rehabilitation unit is a comprehensive program designed to help patients return to productive lifestyles after injury or illness. Some of the patents receiving rehabilitation include those recovering from a stroke, spinal cord injury, amputation, major trauma, and complications after surgery. Patients receive occupational, physical and speech therapy. The unit has been recognized as a top performer by Uniform Data Systems for Medical Rehabilitation for the past 4 out of 5 years. Out of almost 800 acute rehabilitation units, St. Joseph Hospital consistently ranks in

the top 5% - 15% in the nation for patient outcomes. In 2013, the unit has been able to help 91% of its patients improve to the level to return to their homes upon discharge.

For more information on our comprehensive rehabilitation services, visit

Inpatient Rehab patient Katey Ringle helped clean out
planter boxes during her recent "garden therapy" day.

Former patient and stroke survivor Dan Fini volunteers his time
in St. Joseph Hospital's garden helping to keep the plants growing and
ensuring patients get the same enjoyment.

Emma Donovan (right), physical therapist assistant,
helps patient Katey Ringle plant flowers in
St. Joseph Hospital's Inpatient Rehabilitation garden.


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