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.