Over the years there has been much work carried out on how our environments affect us. Research has consistently shown ‘that a supportive and welcoming environment can have positive effects on both those who visit hospitals – whether as patients or visitors- and those who work in them.’ *
Everyone’s tastes are different of course, however there are certain things that are valued if you are unable to move or simply conserving your energies for things that are important to you.
The ability to see nature and the changing seasons: we can take for granted the ability to look out into our gardens and see the antics of a family of magpies, blue tits as they feed and to see garden plants and trees develop their buds into flowers and leaves as spring progresses. Imagine how much more precious that is if you know that this is the last season you will see these things.
The need to feel safe: finding your way around a new space can be very daunting, we will make sure that we design the new space to be easy to navigate and that patient spaces can personalised and that each space is different enough to the others to be identified as personal space.
Bringing the Outside In
As we plan our new hospice building, we want to ensure that we provide opportunities for our patients and visitors to enjoy nature and see the changing seasons. We want to make sure that patients feel safe and comfortable and can find their way around.
A visitor whose relative had died in the old hospice said that his abiding memory of the time spent here was of the sound of golf balls being hit off the tee across the road from the hospice and the conversation and jokes that ensued as a result. We will be building fairly close to the Golf course again and so we will try to make sure that those sights and sounds will be available once again, but avoiding the mishits that occasionally end up in the Hospice garden.
With thanks to Patricia Scott (Senior nurse Sobell House Hospice retired)
*Enhancing the Healing Environment, The Kings Fund, April 2013