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Butterfly Garden opens for end of life patients at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital

February 23, 2022

‘Butterfly Garden’ opens for end of life patients at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital

Staff, volunteers, and donors joined together on 23 February 2022 to celebrate the official opening of a garden at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital which provides end of life patients and their families a serene and private space.

The project, funded through the Alan Miller Will Trust, involved the transformation of an unused courtyard into a tranquil area for patients, relatives or loved ones. This creation of a peaceful, personal space within the hospital grounds allows them to take a moment to quietly reflect or spend valuable time together without the distractions of a busy hospital ward.

The Butterfly Garden project was proposed by the Palliative Care team and voluntary services team at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, having identified the need for patients and their loved ones to have a calm and private place to use when visiting the hospital.

Rachel Targett, End of life care Specialist Nurse, said:

“The Butterfly Garden provides an oasis of calm, a much-needed peaceful space for palliative patients and those dearest to them. In a busy, acute hospital setting this is of huge benefit and we are excited to see this finally open.”

Accessible even on a hospital bed, the garden allows fresh air in a private space with loved ones. The garden plans incorporated scented shrubs and plants that patients will be able to smell, with slightly enclosed areas for privacy.

The name ‘butterfly garden’ was chosen as butterflies are recognised in healthcare as a signal for a difficult conversation, and as a method of communicating that a patient is coming to the end of their lives, is receiving end of life care, or has recently died.”

Debbie Anderson, Head of Charity at University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity, said,

“Whilst the garden was completed in 2021, we have only just been able to celebrate the opening due to Covid-19 restrictions. Our thanks go to Gerry and Pauline Smith, executors of the Alan Miller Charitable Trust, who selected this and other projects to benefit from this wonderful legacy.”

If you are interested in finding out more about how you can support the charity and our other projects, stay up to date by following @UHDCharity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, visiting or contacting the University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity office on 0300 019 4060/8449.


Media Contact:

Lauren Bagshaw

Marketing & PR Officer

University Hospitals Dorset NHS Charity