Evidence of hospital gardens’ therapeutic value grows
The psychological distress family members experience when a loved one is receiving treatment in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU) can be severe: In 30 percent of cases, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder later emerge.
New research out of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center shows a promising new means to help families: nature.
“When you walk into an ICU patient room, you are often met with the beeping of machines, tubes of various kinds, IV lines,” said Jacquie Chambers, R.N., director of patient care services, Legacy Emanuel. “The environment alone can be unsettling. Add to this scene is your loved one who is undergoing a serious health crisis, and it becomes clear why the stress of the family members is something we should be focused on.”
Outdoor gardens showed to be more effective
Thanks to grant funding from the TKF Foundation, Legacy Research Institute convened a team of researchers to investigate how stress levels of ICU family members might be influenced by time spent in a hospital garden.
The team compared the effects of time spent in the garden versus time spent in an indoor hospital atrium that has plants, natural light and a fountain. While both settings were effective at reducing stress, the outdoor space proved more effective at reducing self-reported feelings of sadness.
The study was published in the August 2019 issue of Health Environments Research and Design Journal.
A leader in therapeutic gardens
The garden at Legacy Emanuel is built using evidence-based design and is just steps from the ICU unit — making it easily accessible. The garden is open to all and includes areas for people to gather — or to spend time alone — surrounded by abundant vegetation and colorful flowers.
Legacy Health is a leader in therapeutic gardens. We feature Healing Gardens across our campuses to offer therapy, a peaceful setting and gathering places for events and community walks. If you would like to support one of our gardens, please visit our giving page to make a donation.