News / Health

Hospital Prescribes Healing Dose of Nature

Hospital Prescribes Healing Dose of Naturei
X
October 02, 2013 1:34 PM
A growing number of U.S. hospitals and clinics are adding a dose of Mother Nature to their medical kit - planting gardens for their patients and visitors. Faiza Elmasry takes us on a tour of Johns Hopkins Hospital’s healing gardens and reports that although they were designed to look like little oases, they are more than just part of a pretty landscape. This report voiced by Faith Lapidus.
Hospital Prescribes Healing Dose of Nature
Faiza Elmasry
A growing number of U.S. hospitals and clinics are adding a dose of Mother Nature to their medical kits by planting gardens for their patients and visitors. 

Johns Hopkins Hospital’s healing gardens are designed to look like little oases, but they are more than just part of a pretty landscape.

Yoyo Caudill, 7, and his mother, Anna, are frequent visitors to the Baltimore hospital.

“We’re here on this visit because he was able to have a colostomy reversal," Anna Caudill said. "He's had a colostomy since he was maybe 5 days old.”

When Yoyo is allowed to walk around, he heads to the hospital’s Little Prince Garden, an outdoor space inspired by a classic children’s book. It's a space where he can climb on fiberglass asteroids, make plastic birds ‘fly’ across a futuristic overhanging sculpture and enjoy the plants picked specifically for kids, like sunflowers, shooting stars and roses.

“It’s a very good neutral zone in a hospital," his mother said."I think mentally it helps, [and] emotionally, give children a place of respite.”

That’s important, said Patrice Brylske, director of Hopkins’ Children Center, because being in the hospital is stressful for young patients.

“There is never an easy time for a child to experience hospitalization," she said. "They have a lot of fears when they come to the hospital."

Healthcare organizations and hospitals look for a way to minimize those fears.

"That’s what a healing garden represents," said Brylske. "[It's] a way for the children to be in the breeze, to touch the grass and see birds and butterflies and watch the change of seasons as it takes place.”

The Little Prince Garden is one of three healing gardens at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The spaces are open to young and adult patients, their family members and hospital staff. Hopkins official Sally MacConnell said they have become an important part of therapy.

“You don’t come to the hospital because you want to," MacConnell said. "You come to the hospital because you have to, but at the same time the healing of our patients has a lot to do with their emotional status. So the garden is really a dimension that we could provide that isn’t usually found in hospitals that could say something to every visitor; 'We have our garden because we really care about you.'”

Johns Hopkins Hospital’s gardens were all designed by Susan Weiler.

The healing gardens are a relatively recent phenomenon for hospitals and care facilities, but the idea of healing gardens is ancient. 

"You have to look at the Babylonians, 6,000 years BC, they’d already been doing hanging gardens, then the Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean wealth of gardens throughout different cultures of the Christian and Islamic cultures where gardens took on deeper meanings," said Susan Weiler, who designed the gardens at Hopkins. "But I think currently, the Italians still have a very strong garden ethic. Germans have a tremendous garden ethic. I think every garden has an aspect of healing.”

In addition to plants chosen to appeal to the senses of sight, hearing and smell, there are water features like fountains and pools. Even the placement of the garden itself has a therapeutic purpose.

“There has to be enough sun," Weiler said. "There has to be enough shade. There has to be accessibility. For every level, from the trees all the way to the ground covers, everything has a color and texture. There has to be a balance of it. You can’t have all reds and oranges. You need to have some of them. Blues and whites tend to calm people and violets, so there is an aspect of that relationship with the color.”

There’s a reason Weiler incorporated a variety of surfaces into the garden such as concrete, cobblestones and granite.

“I think when people see durable materials, it makes them feel calmer too," she said. "That stability makes people feel I’m going to be here tomorrow and the next year and the next year.”

The pleasant view comforts patients, even from inside the hospital.

“The building is 12 stories high that surrounds the gardens," MacConnell said. "So you could be walking into a hallway that overlooks the garden and just start to look at it and perhaps that would make you feel a little better, a little calmer.”

That’s the healing power of Mother Nature.

You May Like

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs