Why We Need Plants in Hospitals

gardens in hospitals offer more than just a beautiful environment

By Plant Solutions | December, 2011 | topics: Plants in Hospitals, Studies

Plants and gardens in hospitals offer more than just a beautiful environment for patients and employees. Numerous research studies show that plants can have significant healthcare and therapeutic benefits:

  • 2008 – Kansas. Ninety patients recovering from abdominal surgery were assigned to recovery rooms with or without plants and flowers. Patients who recovered in rooms with plants reported less pain, anxiety, and fatigue. They also had lower blood pressure and heart rates and took fewer painkillers.
  • 1995 – California. Clare Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnus used observation, survey, and interview methods to evaluate four hospital gardens. They concluded that the most important benefit of hospital gardens is that they remove stress. This stress-reducing benefit is available to nearly all users of the garden—employees, patients, and families.
  • 1994 – Uppsala, Sweden. Roger Ulrich studied patients recovering from gall bladder surgery. Patients were given either a hospital bed with a window view of trees or they were given a view of a brick wall. Patients with tree views had fewer post-surgical complications, shorter hospital stays, and less need for pain medication.
  • 1990, 1992 – Japan. Nakamura and Fujii conducted two studies where they measured brain-wave activity in people looking at actual plants or human-made objects. Both studies concluded that greenery elicited relaxation, while human-made objects, like concrete, elicited stress.
  • 1991. Roger Ulrich conducted a controlled experiment where 120 stressed people were assigned to watch one of six different videotapes. Each videotape showed either vegetation or no vegetation at all. Physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and skin conductance) showed that the people who watched the vegetation videos recovered from stress in about three minutes. Their recovery was faster and more effective than that of those who watched the other videos.

These studies show that by viewing garden or nature scenes, one can reduce stress in just a few short minutes. Viewing nature for longer periods of time can shorten hospital stays and reduce the intake of pain medication.  

Why You Should Hire a Green Earth – Green Plants Certified Business

shows that you care about the environment

You may own a home or a business, or you may manage an office, a mall, or a hotel. No matter the circumstances, when it comes to hiring an indoor landscaping company, you want to hire a company that is Green Earth–Green Plants certified. Green certified businesses make earth-friendly practices an integral part of their daily operations.

To earn certification, businesses go through a thorough assessment to determine if they are operating in an eco-friendly way. They earn points for every environment-friendly practice they already have in use, and then they receive advice on the practices they need to put in place. Eventually these businesses make their operations “green” enough to earn sufficient points for certification.

This Green Earth–Green Plants certification program was developed by LEED accredited professional Kathy Fediw. The program is based on an assessment similar to the LEED program for green buildings and is founded on solid research results and published industry standards. It is administered by Johnson Fediw Associates, a non-partisan third party consulting firm specializing in the interior plantscape industry.

Assessment for green certification includes:

  1. Facilities: indoor and outdoor: Is the business using energy-efficient lighting and heating, reducing indoor VOC’s, using water-saving practices, establishing wildlife habitats, and so on?
  2. Transportation: Is the business using hybrid and alternative vehicles and public transportation, establishing routing efficiency, and so on?
  3. Horticulture practices: Is the business limiting pesticide usage, using sound watering practices, and so on?
  4. Recycling and reuse: Is the business reducing landfill waste by recycling plastics, glass, and so on, and is the business composting plant debris?
  5. Social responsibility: Is the business giving back to the industry and the community?
  6. Staff training and education: Is the business educating staff members on eco-friendly practices?

When you hire a green certified business, it shows that you care about the environment. Caring for our environment saves money, improves our health, and improves the quality of the air around us. Over time, caring for our environment reduces the amount of wastes and toxins we put into the landfills and oceans and saves animal habitats. Looking to the future, we can pass on a livable, sustainable environment to our
future generations.

It all starts with the decisions we make today.