How hospitals can use nature to improve care

Some hospitals are bringing the outside inside, providing patients with access to gardens and green spaces to help improve the healing process, ABC-affiliate KFSN reported.

Hospitals are increasingly incorporating nature into healthcare delivery based on research that shows surgery patients who faced a window with trees healed faster, needed less pain medication and had fewer complications than those who faced a brick wall, KFSN noted.

Taking advantage of the healing benefits of nature, more hospitals are allowing patients to spend time outside and creating floor to ceiling windows with a view. "It lifts your spirits, it encourages you, it gives you hope," nurse Tami Anderson told KFSN.

Nemours Children's Hospital, outside Orlando, Fla., for example, has embraced the growing trend of healing with nature and created two rooftop terraces with obstacle courses and walking paths and a one-acre discovery garden, according to a January article in Parenting. In fact, Chief Medical Officer Lane Donnelly describes the 137-bed as a "hospital in a garden."

But as hospitals continue to incorporate nature into healing spaces, they must acknowledge that not all patients can experience nature first-hand and design accordingly, according to a SUNY-ESF announcement released today. An independent research project concluded that while most patients will benefit from green spaces, those with compromised immune systems must experience gardens from indoors, through glass.

To learn more:
- here's the KFSN article
- read the Parenting article
- check out the SUNY-ESF announcement