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Does Nature Help the Healing Process?

01/22/2013

Incorporating nature into medical care as a way to speed up the healing process is quickly becoming a hot topic in healthcare . This philosophy first gained attention in 1984 with Robert Ulrich's pioneering "window view" study. This study found patients with a hospital room window facing a tree-filled landscape healed a day faster, needed less pain medication, and had fewer postsurgical complications than those patients with a view of a brick wall from their hospital room. Another study conducted in 2005 at a Pittsburgh hospital found patients recovering from surgery who had bright, naturally lit rooms experienced less stress, less pain, and required less medication.

While many of today’s modern hospitals do not have nature inspired healing spaces, an article posted on Parenting.com describes the success of Nemours Children’s Hospital and their “hospital in a garden” approach. Opened in October of 2012, Nemours believes the healing properties of nature are just as important as any IV or pill.  The hospital contains a 10,000-square-foot garden terrace,  floor to  ceiling windows and public spaces that fill the rooms with natural light. Additionally, there are two rooftop terraces, as well as a one-acre discovery garden built to engage  the senses.  Blooming, fragrant flowers for smell and xylophone benches and percussive art engage the ears.  This space provides relief to long-term patients and comforts many families.  The amenities at Nemours are as much for the parents as they are for the children.

Do you believe bringing nature indoors helps reduce the amount of stress one feels in the hospital? Do you believe nature helps in the healing process? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts

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