International Journal of Research in Nursing

Green Environments and their Effect Upon Hospital Users

Carol A. Haigh, Gary Witham, Jessica Thompson and Hilary Wood

DOI : 10.3844/ijrnsp.2014.37.43

International Journal of Research in Nursing

Volume 5, Issue 2

Pages 37-43

Abstract

Whilst there is significant academic and health care opinion is that green space both in and outside of institutions is both beneficial and desirable for hospital patients and workers, there is little in the literature to suggest that patients and staff recognise or identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ natural environments. This study reports an exploration of the green environment around a large cancer treatment centre in the United Kingdom to evaluate the external hospital environment and the perceptions of various users of the hospital sites. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the individuals who used the hospital and local residents could identify the advantages of a green infrastructure and could comment upon the existing green examples and also suggest areas, which would benefit from a greener environment. National surveys in several countries have highlighted the common association with stress reduction and exposure to the natural environment. Access to garden areas was an important self-nurturing strategy for patients and staff. Self-nurturing was seen as crucial in allowing healthcare professionals as providing a method of dealing with the stress of care delivery. This was a mixed methods design, primarily quantitative but with a qualitative component. Quantitative data was gathered via a questionnaire whilst the qualitative elements came from a workshop. All data was collected in 2010. The respondents identified the hospital entrances, as being most on need of green planting; the workshop participants identified these as ‘grot spots’ also. The link between the sight of plants and stress reduction was also emphasised by the number of comments from both the workshop and the questionnaire that described the natural environment as ‘relaxing’ therefore the importance of green space especially around treatment areas was emphasised. This study has shown that all users of a hospital were able to identify areas of natural environment and were able to agree on the importance of such.

Copyright

© 2014 Carol A. Haigh, Gary Witham, Jessica Thompson and Hilary Wood. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.