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FARMINGTON — After remodeling the inside of the San Juan Regional Medical Center's Rehabilitation Hospital, the institution's board decided "we should make the exterior as healing as the interior," Sue Clay, the rehabilitation hospital's program director, said.

The board decided to install a healing garden where there had been just concrete and grass. The hospital will show off the garden during an open house on Wednesday.

The remodeling process was necessary because of the age of the building, which was built 26 years ago, Clay said.

"It really needed to be updated," she said.

The interior was completed in the spring of 2013 and includes a certified therapeutic pool for aqua therapy, as well as specialized equipment.

While the interior of the hospital serves as a place to treat patients, the exterior has two purposes — helping patients recover skills such as walking and providing a place for them to relax.

Clay said a lot of patients have been in the hospital for days or weeks without being able to go outside. She said many of those patients experience cabin fever and want to get outside.

Different surfaces help the patients learn how to walk. Those surfaces include sidewalk, gravel and grass.

Some patients who enjoy gardening also clip the dead flowers off of plants.

The garden is designed to be both colorful and relaxing. Flowers are planted in beds and pots along the pathways, and there are two water features, as well as several seating areas.

"You're under high stress when you're in the hospital," Clay said.

She said many patients are adjusting to a disability, and the healing garden can help them "decompress" by giving them a connection to the natural world.

"Many people feel a kinship with nature," Clay said.

MORE INFO

What: Healing Garden open house

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday

Where: San Juan Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, 525 South Schwartz Ave., Farmington

More info: Go to sanjuanregional.com.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652. and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.

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