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Therapeutic Horticulture as a Healing Tool for Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) faces a plethora of challenges as it daily encounters and treats veterans. With a great prevalence of co-occurring diagnoses, veterans’ needs today are significant and arguably more complex than ever before. The second paper of this resource details a mixed method study designed to better understand the depth and breadth of therapeutic horticulture programs that have been operationalized at VA facilities. Using survey and interviews of VA personnel, the author elicited information about VA therapeutic horticulture programs and was able to deduce themes related to the genesis of programs, details of programs’ operationalization and facilitation, and the impact on veterans. The author concludes the study with recommendations for those VA facilities considering implementing a therapeutic horticulture program along with an appeal that the VA begins to more earnestly consider the increasing body of evidence concerning the efficacy of therapeutic horticulture.