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Health Beat: Nature heals patients

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Jun 07 2013 12:01:05 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 07 2013 04:42:07 PM CDT

When you think of a hospital, you probably think of white walls, fluorescent lights, and sterile rooms.

When you think of a hospital, you probably think of white walls, fluorescent lights, and sterile rooms.  That, however, is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and experts said it may have its health benefits.

Timber Branagan can run, explore, and even roll in the grass with her brother. You’d never know she was in a hospital for a week when she had encephalitis.

Hospitals across the country are incorporating nature into daily care. 

Michael Cluff, architect at Nemour's Children's Hospital, said the reasoning is "to ultimately allow them to escape from the reason they might be actually in the hospital."

At the Orlando hospital, each room has floor to ceiling windows with a view. The lighting is mostly natural, and there are gardens where patients can have rehab sessions.

“It lifts your spirits. It encourages you. It gives you hope, " said Tami Anderson, RN, critical care services at Children's Hospital.

One study found surgery patients who faced a window with trees healed a day faster, needed fewer pain medications, and had fewer complications than those who faced a brick wall.

Another found patients who had naturally-lit rooms experienced less stress and less pain.

While many hospitals are adding the green spaces, some are dropping them.  For example, Boston Children's Hospital could be getting rid of its green space so the hospital can expand, however, there's an online petition to keep the garden open.

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