Four-season healing garden


Legacy Health is combining its traditional medical expertise with the healing power of open green spaces to create a four-season healing garden at the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, Oregon. The new garden is adjacent to both the Family Birth Center and Cardiovascular Care Unit. Patients and their families can enter the garden and receive respite from the demands of a loved one’s illness or hospital stay.

Designed by the firm Quatrefoil, Inc., the garden was completed in April 2014. Overlooking a children’s garden that was built earlier, the healing garden replaces an undesirable hardscape terrace built in the 1970s. The garden design gives patients a much-needed place that speaks to their psychological, physical, and spiritual needs. Special design features make sure that less-mobile patients—such as pregnant women on bed rest and patients with reduced mobility—can spend time outside.

Quatrefoil worked closely with physicians and social scientists to create a setting that also provides opportunities to study and quantify the benefits that open green spaces can have on patients, their families, and health care professionals. This is the first time that Legacy Research Institute will study the intersection of nature and health care. Research has begun, with plans to publish results in late 2015. Legacy has planned three separate studies, in which participants will be randomly assigned, or invited, to experience the garden.

The first is a birthing study of women with full-term, low-risk pregnancies; measures will monitor the stress levels and heart rates of both mothers and their babies during labour and delivery. The second study will look at family members of long-staying patients at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). Researchers will analyse how the healing spaces can help people cope while their loved ones face life-threatening conditions. The third study will analyse how nurses can be affected by the new garden by tracking their moods, job attendance, and a variety of health factors.

CITYGREEN, January 15, 2015.

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Tel: 410.268.1376

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We are a private nonprofit that supports, informs, and inspires the creation of publicly accessible urban green spaces. We believe that every city resident needs nearby green space to provide opportunities for mindfulness, respite, and renewal. The Foundation has issued its final grants to build five Open Spaces Sacred Places and research the impacts on a variety of users with the hope that the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing will be scientifically proven.

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