The healthcare systems have begun to recognize the benefits that nature can bring when incorporated into a Healing Garden within their Medical Centers. This realization has been supported by statistics showing that there are direct and beneficial health outcomes attributed to access and views to nature. The evidence as it relates to gardens has proven to the healthcare community that patients heal faster, need fewer medications, lowers stress levels for staff and administrators, and develop more favorable image of the medical center1 in Communities nearby. These all translate in more income to the healthcare providers. These health and capital outcomes have raised the priority for all healthcare systems to include healing gardens, therapeutic gardens, outdoor gathering areas and a wide variety of opportunities to access nature on new expansion projects.
I tend to address these and Healing Environments because there are so many different types of garden areas found on the medical center campus’ all of which contribute to a healing outcome. The Healing Garden though, is one that should be central to the campus with access to multiple facility buildings. At Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, the healing garden is central to the Heart Center, Ambulatory Services Center, the new West Tower and main hospital. It offers opportunities for many participants to take a break, find respite, watch the waterfalls and garden landscape, or get physical therapy. The healing garden will provide patients, visitors and staff access to Nature and its power to heal.
- Health Facilities Management, “Great Outdoors-Developing a master plan for exterior spaces” by Julie Manning and Laurel Macdonald, February 2007, page 26