It seems like just yesterday we had winter’s end in sight, looking for the first signs of buds on trees and the promise of spring. Planning ahead for implementing a healing garden into a project is like preparing a garden in autumn for a bounty of beautiful blooms in the springtime. The vision prepares the way for the diligent planning, execution, and optimum utilization of a healing space for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
Nature heals in its own way, and no matter what description of it is spoken, scientific study theorized upon, or research written, our primordial inner being reaches out towards it beyond words.
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Today’s political and financial worlds, along with national healthcare insurance and reform questions, are raising concerns about an uncertain future in the healthcare industry. The long-range planning challenges facing healthcare facilities are many. The business case for spending healthcare dollars on tangible physical outcomes is easier to make than for spending on those not as easily perceived.
Many healing gardens put on paper and budgeted for are often value engineered out of a project. Although it may save dollars upfront, in the long run, what is the true cost to the welfare of the facility, staff, and patients?
Visiting and talking with healthcare facilities that have true healing gardens can be inspiring. Learning about the benefits of true healing gardens firsthand from staff and patients who use them can lead you to understand why in today’s healthcare facilities we can’t do without them.
Healing gardens are not a new concept. They stretch back to ancient times. Modern medicine, however, found it easier to focus on treating patients with medications for their physical conditions. Often, mental and spiritual ties to healing were neglected.
Slowly over the past few decades, research and rediscovery have illuminated the need for healing gardens once again. Medical facilities embracing healing gardens, both exterior and interior, are finding they provide many benefits when well maintained and can be used for many different purposes.
Although many healthcare facilities are incorporating “healing gardens,” many lack the “healing” aspect. A sea of mulch with a couple of trees, some planting beds with a solitary walkway, and bench should just be the start and not the end result.