Specialized programming for our patients

Wellstone Regional Hospital is a 100-bed psychiatric hospital, offering 74 acute care beds for children, adolescents and adults, and 26 residential beds for children and adolescents. Comprehensive outpatient services are also available for partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. Psychiatrists and nurse practitioners offer medication evaluations and outpatient follow-up appointments via Wellstone’s Physician Group Practice.What separates Wellstone from all others is absolute dedication to the respect of each individual human being, with an emphasis on restoring hope. Our highly trained and motivated staff is the key to providing a quality clinical program that encourages individuals to explore their options and help themselves.The philosophy of our programs revolves around the unique needs of each individual and his/her ability to cope effectively with life stressors.

Our goal is to strengthen the spirit by identifying coping strategies and supporting each person’s efforts. Horticultural therapy is a part of the specialized programming for our patients. Other disciplines in this department are recreational, art and pet therapy. Each patient participates in one specialized therapy group Monday through Friday. The focus of the HT program at Wellstone is to encourage the patients to be outside and involved with nature as much as possible. We have used all outdoor secured areas to offer a variety of projects. The residential patients have an additional area behind the hospital that is wooded and we often use this space for HT.Following are pictures which depict HT activities. This is the ‘backyard’ where patients walk and play. Many HT projects are planted in this area. I recently advocated for this gravel path to be asphalted. It was this summer and many more patients are interested in a walking program developed by the activity therapists.

The HT courtyard which was designed as an HTI classroom project. Our maintenance staff designed the garden soaker hose supported by plastic pipes. The courtyard includes a greenhouse and shed to store supplies.

Our garden August 1, 2007.

The greenhouse serves to house tropical plants in the winter as well as a wonderful place to hold HT group sessions.

Lots of planting begins in the Winter and into Spring.

Simple tasks such as operating a wheelbarrow is an opportunity to practice helping one another…

The back porch was designed by the maintenance staff and myself to de-institutionalize the HT courtyard.

Patients that come to the hospital for day programming only enjoy a relaxed atmosphere during their breaks.

Theme gardens are fun for children to participate in planning and planting. Here we focused on tropical plants…

The back of the hospital offers an additional outdoor space for residential children to explore.

I asked the lawn company to mow a path through the woods area so we could use it all summer.

We’ve explored lots of native trees, flowers and grasses. The Arbor Day Foundation sells small trees which we’ve planted in the woods.

We are fortunate to have wild honeysuckle and blackberries. One day we picked the berries and made cobbler. A favorite activity.

Our planting program focuses on attracting native butterflies in all stages. Here a monarch butterfly caterpillar eats happily away on the milkweed plants.

It’s rewarding to see the results of all the work of an HT project. When I tell the patients in early Spring we can attract butterflies by what we plant they are convinced once they see it in the summer.