Question: In older adults with mental health conditions, how effective is the use of gardening as a therapeutic intervention, compared to treatment as usual/any other intervention, for improving patient outcomes?


Two small studies found insufficient evidence to support the use of horticultural therapy to improve outcomes in older adults with dementia. One RCT suggested that horticultural therapy may be associated with higher levels of active, passive and other engagement, however, the control group showed higher levels of self-engagement. There were no differences between groups on affective outcomes. The other study found no effect of horticultural therapy on agitation but there was a suggestion for a decrease in non-aggressive behaviour. Both studies were judged at high risk of bias and so these results should be interpreted with caution. There is a need for larger, methodological robust studies conducted in participants with dementia and other mental health condition.

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