Representatives from the local chapters of the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association, past patients, their family members and Legacy Emanuel clinical staff were involved with the planning of the garden and research studies.
Following completion of the garden, three studies will investigate its impact:
- The study of women giving birth will measure the extent to which garden enriched care lessens their discomfort, pain and stress, and thereby benefits the condition of their babies at birth.
- The family study will identify personal benefits experienced by family members of cardiovascular intensive care unit patients. These family members will be invited into the therapeutic garden adjacent to the unit.
- The nurse study will evaluate how spending designated time in the garden affects work stress management.
“The project is innovative and exciting. Benefits of the new hospital garden at Legacy Emanuel will be evaluated by scientific studies that generate important knowledge about the value of gardens and nature for patients, families and health care workers,” says Roger Ulrich, Ph.D., professor of architecture, Chalmers University in Sweden and principal investigator. “This will be the first time that benefits of a calming, beautiful garden are studied for hospital users in a serious in-depth way.”
Dr. Ulrich will collaborate closely with Alar Mirka, M.D., director of clinical research at Legacy Research Institute on research design, development and evaluation. Jennifer Antick, Ph.D., professor of health psychology, Pacific University in Oregon, will lead graduate students in support of the family study.
“We are extremely enthusiastic about receiving the funding that will provide the research infrastructure and expertise to support this important project," said P. Ashley Wackym, M.D., clinical vice president of research for Legacy Health. “Measuring the outcomes of innovative and transformative care delivery is one key part of the mission of Legacy Research Institute."
Funds for this project were provided by the TKF Foundation as part of the National Open Spaces Sacred Places Initiative. The mission of the TKF Foundation is to provide the opportunity for a deeper human experience by inspiring and supporting the creation of public green space that offers a temporary place of sanctuary, encourages reflection, provides solace, and engenders peace and well-being.
“Patients, families, and staff in obstetrics and intensive care often face extremely stressful situations and unsettling outcomes. The opportunity to enter a quiet healing space can be very important to the well-being of each of these groups,” says Lori Morgan, M.D., Legacy Emanuel’s chief administrative officer.
The new 6,800-square-foot therapeutic garden will feature:
- Destination places to provide privacy for stress management, restoration and reflection
- Perimeters created by arbors, a water wall and four seasons of specially selected garden plants
- Wind sails and covered areas to protect from sun, rain and wind
- A children’s activity area
Construction of the garden is planned to begin in June 2013 with completion six months later.