Outcome measures in Green Care

Careful use of evidence-based outcome measures can go a long way to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of Green Care services. Outcome measures can provide credible and reliable justification for a range of interventions like horticultural therapy, care farming and ecotherapy. The use of outcome measurement tools to create robust information is essential and supports the future commissioning of individual projects and Green Care services as a whole.

A top medical professional’s perspective

The short video below captures Sir Richard Thompson, former President of the Royal College of Physicians, talking about the need for projects and practitioners to be evidence-based in their practice. Clearly the importance of an evidence-based approach cannot be underestimated:

But many still consider funders and other external stakeholders to be the main beneficiaries of outcome-focussed practice. Others question the value of outcome measurement to clients. And some are unsure how collecting information can improve the quality of practice.

What is needed?

Clearly this suggests that beyond providing practitioners with lists of suitable tools or sharing abstract concepts related to outcome measurement, training should equip practitioners with an informed practical approach to:

  • Make effective use of information that is already being collected;
  • Ensure time-efficient collection and analysis of information;
  • Empower clients to participate in, and make decisions about, the intended outcomes of projects and the collection of relevant information;
  • Use outcome measurement to facilitate regular feedback and communication;
  • Inform and improve the quality of practice and reflection on practice;
  • Demonstrate to external stakeholders the positive impact of services, thus helping secure future commissioning, repeat funding, and sustainability

two horticultural therapists discussing outcome measurementAt the heart of this is the recognition that the primary stakeholders of any project or programme should be its service users. Therefore, as practitioners we should collect information and report information in a way that improves day to day support and communication with clients. This approach should enable us to demonstrate the positive impact of our nature-based services to others. But it should do so without adding time consuming layers of complexity and paperwork.

Learning more

Thrive’s one-day course ‘Outcome Measures – demonstrate your impact‘ draws on our many years of experience, supporting projects across the UK and beyond. As such it resolves some of the perceived dichotomies we have seen between being person-centred and outcome-focussed.

The course is both practical and informative. It makes use of real life case-studies and draws out themes and learning from the participants’ own questions and experiences. The learning points addressed include evidence in Green Care and the importance of an evidence-based approach; developing aims, outcomes, and objectives; suitable assessment frameworks in Green Care; the use of outcome measurement tools; and an introduction to quality standards.

To find out more, please visit www.thrive.org.uk or call a member of our Training and Education team on 0118 988 5688 and book your place today.

Categories: Blog Posts


Freddie Watson Stubbs has been part of the Training, Education and Consultancy Team at Thrive since Spring 2018 and design, develops and delivers content across ThriveLearn, as well as in person to a range of bespoke groups. Thier primary interest is in how horticulture can be used to engage with young people, as well as how Green Care can really be a useful intervention for so many people.

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