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Dominican Hospital Opens Functional Rehabilitation Garden


Outdoor therapeutic space is first of four healing gardens planned

SANTA CRUZ, CA (May 6, 2018) – Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has opened its first healing garden – a functional rehabilitation garden where every element is designed to serve a purpose for patients undergoing physical or neurological rehabilitation.

The garden was funded by contributions to the Dominican Hospital Foundation.

The Monterey Peninsula Foundation Rehabilitation Garden at Dominican Hospital was designed with the input of physical, occupational and speech therapists to serve patients who are recovering from stroke, neurosurgery, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic surgery or episodes relating to MS and Parkinson’s. The garden can also aid in recovery for patients with recent amputations or surgeries for cancer or severe medical issues, as well as serve as a respite area for visitors and staff.

“Providing a garden that our therapists can use for rehabilitation is a valuable addition for a healing environment,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “There are over 50 physical, occupational and speech therapists who can use the garden as an outdoor therapy lab. Patients experiencing neurological and orthopedic issues will be able to work in the garden on regaining skills as well as those needing to regain their strength.”

The rehabilitation garden offers the following therapeutic elements:

  • Many different pavement surfaces, stair configurations and pathways help patients learn to navigate with walkers, wheelchairs and canes in a real life environment.
  • A putting green, to help with balance.
  • Outdoor games, including an oversized chess set and letter board to assist with manual dexterity, memory function and language skills.
  • Various design elements promote sensory awareness, including textured plants and a water feature.

The Monterey Peninsula Foundation Rehabilitation Garden will be dedicated on Sunday, May 6 and opens to patients May 7.

“We're excited to support the Dominican Hospital Foundation in their new endeavor, especially the creation of a putting green designed for rehabilitation,” remarks Steve John, CEO of Monterey Peninsula Foundation. “As the host of both the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the PURE Insurance
Championship, it made sense for us to support this life-affirming outdoor garden. The therapeutic use of golf will help patients on their healing journey.”

“This dedication is a major achievement for the Dominican Hospital Foundation; it’s a project that has an enormous impact on patients, visitors and staff. It’s so inspiring to see the stories of giving throughout,” said Dominican Hospital Foundation President Carol Lezin.

The rehabilitation garden is the first piece of the Foundation’s Healing Courtyards Initiative. Research shows that access to a garden can speed healing and reduce the need for pain medication, resulting in fewer postsurgical complications and less hospital time. Four healing gardens are included in the initiative:

  • The Monterey Peninsula Foundation Rehabilitation Garden (Open Spring 2018)
  • The Norman and Maureen Benito Surgery Courtyard (Under construction)
  • The Joseph T. Anzalone Family and Newborn Care Garden (Construction begins Spring 2019)
  • The Meditation Garden in honor of Nello Santacroce (Construction begins Spring 2019)

“As just the first garden of four, we are very excited to be a part of improving the hospital environment and providing such a valuable space,” said Joe Burton, CEO of Plantronics and chair of the Foundation’s Healing Courtyard Committee. “Our committee has worked hard and over 630 individuals, foundations and businesses have contributed to this project.”

About Dominican Hospital

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for 75 years. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center. Dominican’s services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area. Dominican has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence.


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