Companionship grows in BRHS kitchen garden

The new kitchen garden at Bairnsdale Regional Health Service’s Maddocks Gardens aged care facility feeds more than bellies – it nourishes relationships too.

The garden covers three areas on the grounds and includes seating, arches, sheds, birdbaths and compost bins. It produces a vast array of produce – from silver beet to raspberries and herbs to beetroot.

It has beautiful hand-painted murals that add to the charm of the kitchen garden, and a Blue Wren – a Gunaikurnai totem – is included as an acknowledgement of Country.

The $85,000 grant came from the Department of Health’s Public Sector Residential Aged Care Services and Community Kitchen Garden Initiative.

BRHS Aged Care Manager Paul Rosenquist said the kitchen garden, is a team effort.

Private aged care company HammondCare developed a design that worked for people with dementia, offered easy access and sustainability and reflected views expressed in a survey completed by residents, families and staff.

With a design agreed, local firm Isles Landscapes began construction.

Maddocks Gardens residents Mary Christopher (front) and Jo Hickson in the new kitchen garden.

Paul said the kitchen garden supplies food to Maddocks Gardens every day and is making a real difference for residents, their families and staff. “It’s designed for residential aged care and it’s grown from garden to plate,” Paul said.

“We are involving our consumers and the residents’ families. We have a roster so they can come in and they take their loved one out to the garden and work with them in the garden. The residents and our staff get out there too. It’s added a whole new dimension to our care.”

BRHS Chief Executive Officer Robyn Hayles said the kitchen garden is another example of the importance Maddocks Gardens places on lifestyle and quality of life for its residents.

“A lot of thought and care went into our kitchen garden, and we can see the difference it’s making as it comes to life in spring,” she said.

“Residents and their families love sharing the garden. Our staff love it too, and the residents get to enjoy the fruits of their labour. It’s a wonderful addition to BRHS.”

BRHS Aged Care Manager Paul Rosenquist.

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