Healing Hospital: A Daring Paradigm
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The word “healing” comes from an Anglo-Saxon word Haelen, which means to make whole (Zborowsky, 2008). Healing hospitals strive to promote harmony of the spirit, body, and mind. These environments help to reduce patients’ anxiety and stress in effort to help the body heal itself. Florence Nightingale spoke of this when she spoke of the importance of natural light, fresh air and quiet for healing. These principals are not new but were forgotten in mainstream western medicine. Spirituality has made a comeback in contemporary medicine and healing hospitals are a great example of the return of treating the whole person. This paper will discuss the components of healing hospitals and their relationship to spirituality and describe the challenges in creating healing environments in hospitals. Components of Healing Hospitals
Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee pioneered a program named “radical loving care” which altered the culture of care in their facility (Grand Canyon University, 2014). This program contained several components to address healing, which include: improvement of technology, physical design features, and the culture of care. First, technology was updated to make access for physcians easier, separate elevators for patient transport were installed, and the patient rooms had state-of-art entertainment systems installed (Grand Canyon University, 2014). Second, physical buildings were designed to promote the comfort and decrease the stress level for patients (Grand Canyon University, 2014). Lastly, a culture of care was established. The author of this paper worked at Mercy Gilbert Medical in Gilbert Arizona where they employ the radical loving care model. This hospital was named the best in the country in 2008’s list of the Top Ten Healing Hospitals by the Baptist Healing Trust (xxxxxxxxxx, 2009). The environment in this hospital was very different from any other healthcare institution that the author has worked for in the past.
One of the things that stood out the most was during orientation, a priest blessed all of our hands in a ceremony, that each of us would have healing hands. This hospital also had a program that trained volunteers to be at the beside of dying patients who were alone and a symbol at each to door to remind healthcare workers to pause before entering the patient’s room. Another healing component that hospitals throughout the United States are using includes increasing the connection to nature. Many hospitals have installed atriums where patients can go outside and get fresh air in healing environment. Also, the reduction of environmental stress like excess noise, glare from the sun, and poor air quality has been shown to improve patient’s overall health (Zbrowski, 2008). Private rooms are now the standard in most hospitals because they reduce infection and promote the involvement of family and loved ones. Distractions like pet therapy are another program that healing hospitals use to treat the whole person not just their symptoms. Healing hospitals offer safe enviroments that place the value of human interaction and compassion in the center of patient care which benefit both the patient and caregiver (Zarren, 2014) Challenges of Creating a Healing Environment