By: Samantha Yurek
Flowering plants are a common sight spotting in any hospital wing, mainly attached with get well soon tags. The new trend seems to be green that will last more than a week or two. Many hospitals and health wellness buildings are incorporating green space, much of it making an appearance on the rooftops. Staring at an attractive green landscape rather than an unappealing tar-stained rooftop has the potential to make every patient calmer and happier on a daily basis. It has been proven that views of natural landscapes have a positive effect on the emotional and mental health of those being treated, as well as those visiting.
The Baltimore Sun recently published an article in their healing section titled, Garden Rx: Hospitals and homeowners alike are investing in the therapeutic properties of landscaped places. The article highlights the addition of healing gardens in well-known hospitals in Baltimore such as Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore Washington Medical Center, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital and the UMD Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Institute.
Many of these healing gardens are designed to give patients, family and employees green space to relax and learn and heal within. The addition of green roof space provides many hospital rooms with preferred views of green plant life instead of a bland, brick building. Mercy Medical Center incorporated both healing gardens within a green roof, utilizing their space for both environmental and social benefits.
But not all patients can experience the benefits of an outdoor garden consequence of a compromised immune system. Months spent in the hospital battling leukemia created a unique opportunity for one SUNY-ESF landscape architecture student, Kevan Busa. Determined to graduate on time, but confined within the walls of a hospital, Kevan completed his final project on the healing potential of landscape design from a patient's perspective. Highlighted in the June 2013 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, Kevan explains the frustration of a poorly designed healing space. A visit to an outdoor garden is out of the question for many patients. Busa wrote, "the solution may be gardens that can be experienced from indoors, through glass. This idea may not sound terribly inviting, but it is a far preferable alternative to 100 days of brick walls."
Green roof space that can be viewed from individual hospital rooms could be the solution to a quicker healing time and happier patients.
A well-known hospital in Germany, Diakonie-Klinikum Stuttgart, has approximately 150,000 square feet of green roof along with indoor plants as large as trees. The greening of this hospital has been an ongoing process since 1990.