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Green hospitals relax the patient

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Hospitals can be intimidating places, especially when you’re already stressed.

But adding plants in soul-less corridors and having big windows that look out on some greenery relaxes the patient, researchers have found—and these could be incorporated into the hospitals of the future.

Even existing hospitals could bring in a few plants to relax the patient, say researchers from West Virginia University. They tested different models of hospital settings on small groups, and the green, back-to-nature designs helped ease mood, and those who felt angry or confused by endless corridors were “significantly relieved”.

It has been estimated that, on average, patients goes through seven steps—such as asking for directions or checking for signage—before they arrive at the correct unit within the hospital. 

But adding some greenery at key junctures can help the patient arrive at his or her destination in a slightly less frazzled state.

These ‘hospital in a park’ design ideas are already being adopted by some hospitals in Europe, the researchers say, but very few in the US have yet taken up these ideas.

(Source: HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal, 2022; 193758672110675; doi: 1177/19375867211067539)

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Article Topics: hospital, patient
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