Content » Vol 46, Issue 3

Original report

Nature-assisted rehabilitation for reactions to severe stress and/or depression in a rehabilitation garden: Long-term follow-up including comparisons with a matched population-based reference cohort

Peter Währborg, Ingemar F. Petersson, Patrik Grahn
Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Göteborg, The Sahlgrenska Academy Göteborg University, 413 45 Göteborg, Sweden. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1259


Objective: To determine the effect of a nature-assisted rehabilitation programme in a group of patients with reactions to severe stress and/or mild to moderate depression. Changes in sick-leave status and healthcare consumption in these patients were compared with those in a matched population-based reference cohort (treatment as usual).
Design: Retrospective cohort study with a matched reference group from the general population.
Subjects: A total of 118 participants referred to a nature-assisted rehabilitation programme, and 678 controls recruited from the Skåne Health Care Register. For both groups, information on sick leave was extracted from the National Social Insurance Register and on healthcare consumption data from the Skåne Health Care Register.
Methods: The interventional rehabilitation programme was designed as a multimodal programme involving professionals from horticulture and medicine. The programme was conducted in a rehabilitation garden, designed especially for this purpose.
Results: A significant reduction in healthcare consumption was noted among participants in the programme compared with the reference population. The main changes were a reduction in outpatient visits to primary healthcare and a reduction in inpatient psychiatric care. No significant difference in sick-leave status was found.
Conclusion: A structured, nature-based rehabilitation programme for patients with reactions to severe stress and/or depression could be beneficial, as reflected in reduced healthcare consumption.

Lay Abstract


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