Well, right now is supposedly springtime in the United States. With the weather beginning to transition, the plants will start blooming soon, giving patients the ability to get outside and enjoy the sunny weather.
This is where outdoor healing spaces factor into healthcare facilities.
An outside garden, children’s play area, or park is considered a healing space in hospitals. A healing space is more commonly referred to as “healing architecture.”
Healing architecture is an environment that is built to “impact patients’ health and psychological well-being,” states SageGlass. The following features can impact a patient’s healing process in a positive way:
All of these features impact how fast a patient recovers during their stay in the hospital and adapt to their acute or chronic conditions more easily.
At the end of the day, gardens, labyrinths, sculptures, and other outdoor features help patients in the recovery process. How exactly do they help?
Positive distractions have the ability to speed up the healing process for patients, which in turn helps with a number of emotional and physiological issues a patient may be facing during their stay at the hospital. It also helps with turning negative emotions into positive ones and helps reduce stress levels.
However, a hospital cannot simply plant some flowers and add a few benches to be considered an outside healing space. Everything needs to be done intentionally so that each plant, rock, bench, and other items are placed strategically.
There is an outdoor garden dedicated to a two-year-old who lost her battle to cancer at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. This outside healing space is called, “Leslie’s Healing Garden,” and is a place for patients, family members, and the hospital’s staff to sit and quietly reflect.
The garden is over 7,700 square feet and features the following flowers:
There are eight other perennials present at this healing garden as well. This garden give patients and their visitors the ability to get physical activity while reducing stress.
Who wouldn’t feel better after a relaxing stroll through the flowers?
As well all know, the weather does not always permit us to go outside in the Spring. This is when a hospital needs to improvise their design plans to maintain patients’ morale and boost their spirits with indoor games and activities.
Looking for a solution to your rainy day woes? Simply bring the outside into the hospital or patient rooms themselves.
These kind of spaces are called Biophilic designs. Biophilic design understands that nature is part of all healing processes, and incorporates our desire to be outside and brings it inside. This is done in several ways:
These design methods and a number of others help to bring the outside in when weather or a patient's condition prohibits them from going outside.
A great local example of this is at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The Chihuly Sanctuary brings the openness and light of outdoors inside with massive blown glass sculptures.
This creates a stress-reducing environment with a meditative, healing space for everyone including visitors and worried families.
This sanctuary allows for patients to get their exercise without having to go outside, while mimicking the garden landscape outside.
Outdoor healing gardens and landscapes are imperative in modern healthcare design. This is due to the fact that so many patients rely on these outdoor sanctuary and spaces during their short or long-term recoveries.
Spring is here, and once your outdoor sanctuary has been designed, patients will want to get outside and stay there all day long.
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