Nature in a sensory garden may create the possibility of a patient–nurse relationship in caring for dementia patients in nursing homes. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship, describe it and moreover to make its meaning visible. The study forms part of a larger action research project. Through interventions using an appreciative approach, data was collected from fourteen participants. Using thematic analysis, based on Braun & Clarke, two main themes were developed: (1) The formation of “the room of closeness” and (2) “the room of closeness” – a significant relationship in dementia care. The findings show the development of new knowledge about factors that promote or inhibit the formation of “the room of closeness”, and its potential for changing the care. The theories of health geography, nursing and wellbeing may contribute new perspectives in the development of the “room of closeness” and new research areas.

Keywords: action research, sensory garden, “a room of closeness”, nursing care and health geography