A Creative Way to Improve Therapeutic Relationship and Care

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Jutta Dreizler, MScN, RN1
Veronika Waldboth, MScN, RN1
Renata Schneiter2
Lorenz Imhof, PhD, RN1
(1)School of Nursing, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Winterthur, Switzerland
(2)Departement of Life Sciences and Facility Management, Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Wädenswil, Switzerland

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe how nurses and nursing home residents experience dealing with indoor plants in the daily practice.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the model of integrating plants in nursing care for nursing home residents.


In nursing homes, older people often suffer from loneliness, depression and pain. To improve these aspects is an important goal in nursing care. One way to achieve these goals is to integrate plants into daily care. Activities with plants have been shown to have an impact on older peoples’ life. Few studies have been conducted on the therapeutic effects of dealing with plants, but none of them integrate plants in daily nursing care. This study is based on Nolan’s Framework of improving care for older people. The aim of the study was to explore the daily practice of nurses and residents in Nursing homes in dealing with plants.


A qualitative design was chosen to conduct two focus groups with nursing home staff and 26 in-depth interviews with residents in two nursing homes in Switzerland. All data were analyzed using the grounded theory approach. Analyzing with small data sets word for word (Initial coding) was followed by graphical mapping. The second stage of analysis was focused on coding with large data sets. The analyzing process was done in a team approach.


A model could be developed which described the role of plants in the care for residents in nursing homes. Nurses and residents described that meaningful relationships were established through joint activities of caring for plants in everyday life. These shared activities are described to have an impact on the lives of residents, to provide nurses with new ideas around plant related activities, and to initiate pro-active behavior for the residents.


Incorporating plants into the care of nursing home residents can play an important role to improve care. Intervention research is needed to establish evidence of effectiveness of plant related activities among nursing home residents and nurses.