Yesterday, I took my mom to the cancer center for one of her check-ups. While we were waiting, she commented on how beautiful the live plants were in the waiting room. She said, “It’s so good to see green, healthy plants like this. It just makes me feel good.” Always on a quest to better understand the patient psyche, I had to probe a bit and asked her to elaborate. She obliged by explaining, “I guess it’s just comforting to see signs of life. When I see green, healthy plants it makes me think of growth, new life, and hope.” Her explanation made me smile. She was able to articulate and validate what healthcare designers have supported since Florence Nightingale: the need for nature in creating a healing environment.
Any time you can bring nature indoors through windows, natural light, water features, and plants, you’ve got core elements of a healing environment. Not every organization can afford elaborate water features or windows with panoramic views, but a few green plants could help get you closer to a more healing environment to support your patients.