3/16/2012 9:58 AM
Distractions and distortions around you, the jarring colors and sounds, could shake up the healing chemistry of your mind, might your surroundings also have the power to heal you? This is the question Esther Sternberg explores in Healing Spaces, a look at the marvelously rich nexus of mind and body, perception and place. Sternberg immerses us in the discoveries that have revealed a complicated working relationship between the senses, the emotions, and the immune system.
First among these is the story of the researcher who, in the 1980s, found that hospital patients with a view of nature healed faster than those without. How could a pleasant view speed healing? The author pursues this question through a series of places and situations that explore the neurobiology of the senses. The book shows how a Disney theme park or a Frank Gehry concert hall, a labyrinth or a garden can trigger or reduce stress, induce anxiety or instill peace.
If our senses can lead us to a “place of healing,” it is no surprise that our place in nature is of critical importance in Sternberg’s account. The health of the environment is closely linked to personal health. The discoveries this book describes point to possibilities for designing hospitals, communities, and neighborhoods that promote healing and health for all.
"Places of healing" should carry over to the dining aspects. Design including form and function attributes lead to healing and about how knowing each person and honoring their food choices actually improved their outcomes. Watch for next blog on sense of smell, sight and human connection aids in better nutrition.
Why, for instance, do hospital patients whose window looks out on a grove of trees require less pain medication than patients looking out on a brick wall? Incorporating light and nature into our cities and buildings can promote health and reduce stress, and how this concept is influencing urban design and the layout of hospitals and senior living?
Healing environment in all senior living and hospital environments including Behavioral Health/Psychiatric Hospitals can lead to great patient/resident satisfaction and save monies with shorter length of stay.
What makes up a healing environment? Many parts in a hospital such as chairs, beds, tables, lobbies, nursing stations, wall coverings, wall colors, and yes even meal delivery carts. Read more here about how little things make up a big difference.
Does your dining room, cafeterias, meal delivery carts, plates, trays, etc..., add a dimension to this healing effect at your healthcare organization? If not, shouldn't it?