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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid