Healing hospitals are being built with the intention of providing patients with a calm, quiet, visually pleasing, and stress-free therapeutic environment, while providing advanced technologies and excellent care. The healing hospital paradigm focuses on providing holistic care by improving the patient’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being (Eberst, 2008). When new hospitals are being built, the focus is on how many beds it will hold, where they will be located, and how much money it will cost.
Healing hospitals like Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) Mercy Gilbert Center in Arizona also focuses on how it is built and how much it will cost, but the main focus is on proving the hospital with a healing environment, a culture of Radical Loving Care, and the integration of work design and technology (Eberst, 2008). Staff is not hired, they are chosen for their experience, compassion, and caring nature. Removing stress and allowing patients to sleep promotes improved healing.
The concept of the healing hospital is to allow patients and families to cope with illness and stress during some the most difficult times in their lives (Eberst, 2008). Many barriers and challenges can impede the creation of healing environments in a healing hospital. The mission of healing hospitals is to improve the health of the community through holistic care. One of the first healing hospitals is Mendocino Coast District Hospital in California.
Ray Hino, the CEO of the hospital states, “It gives us the ability to add meaningful depth to our existing program through its emphasis on a holistic approach to achieving and maintaining good health. It also enables us to extend our reach further into the community” (PR Newswire, 2009). Healing hospitals provide education tools to empower patients, families, and visitors to breed health awareness and stimulate healthier living. A few examples are having biofeedback education in testing areas to reduce stress, guided imagery CD’s in surgery areas, and the healing touch in obstetrics to calm fussy infants (PR Newswire, 2009).
The environment in a healing hospital is visually pleasing and quiet for relaxation, and the staff is made up of healthcare professionals with a loving, caring, and compassionate demeanor. Posting positive words at each door aids in lifting spirits and cleansing the soul. Bulletin boards covered with thank you notes and cards stating that employees have gone above and beyond from patients, families, and coworkers help boost morale (PR Newswir, 2009). Healing hospitals integrate spirituality into health care practices to treat the patient’s body, mind, and spirit to promote true healing.
A study from the Harvard Medical School showed that repetitive prayer, sounds, or words helped to passively disregard thoughts, and caused physiological changes to occur (“Spirituality & Healing,” 2007). The changes caused the metabolism, heart rate, respirations, and blood pressure to decrease, which allowed the body to relax and decrease stress, creating the relaxation response. This response was a proven therapy for stress related conditions (“Spirituality & Healing,” 2007). Spirituality involves having faith and believing in a higher power, and can be an influential element in healing.
The hospital environment can be a challenging place for patients and families to find peace and comfort. Barriers to providing a healing environment consist of improper staffing, poor nurse to patient ratios, lack of communication, noise, semi-private rooms, and employees who are not culturally competent (Dunn, 2010). Improper staffing and large nurse to patient ratios can lower moral and cause nurse burn out. When employees are dissatisfied, patient care suffers. Lack of communication can cause increased stress on patients and families.
When patients and families are educated on health issues and involved in health care decisions, a trusting bond is created. Semi-private rooms and noisy environments also increase stress and decrease the ability to rest. Rest is important in healing, because cells replenish themselves faster during periods of rest. Carpeted hallways and overhead paging can reduce noise and decrease distractions to patients and health care professionals. Decreasing distractions can decrease stress and reduce errors. Creating a healing environments\ can rejuvenate health care workers and improve patient outcomes (Dunn, 2010).
The Bible depicts many passages that support the concept of a healing hospital. Proverbs 17:22 states “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones,” which in this writers opinion, means that a positive, loving, caring attitude can heal, while a negative attitude can further the disease process (Proverbs 17:22, King James Version, pg. 716). The bible verse Isaiah 57:18-19 states “I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners: (Isaiah 57:18-19, pg. 795).
This verse reveals that healing involves the individual, and also those who care for them. The above verses, in the writer’s opinion, represents holistic care of the body, mind, and spirit of the individual and family. Integrating spirituality into the caring process can heal disease, decrease emotional distress, create a trusting bond, and improve outcomes. The facility where the writer is employed, offers spiritual counseling by the clergy, bibles in each room, an assessment of spiritual and cultural needs, as well as a calm, quiet positive environment.
Patients are asked daily to grade the care, communication, cleanliness, response times, and involvement in care. If the grade is not an A+, the patient is asked what could be done to make their stay better. When patients feel they are getting the best care possible in a loving, caring, positive environment, patients heal faster. The concept of the healing hospital is a growing trend. Healing hospitals have a mission to improve health and not just treat physical ailments. Healing the body, mind, and spirit improves the outcomes of patients, families, and communities.
Education is a key component in empowering patients and families with the knowledge needed to make healthy choices. Providing holistic care from healthcare professionals provides patients and families with a great healing experience, which speeds up the healing process and decreases medical costs. There are many barriers that can affect the progress of executing a healing environment in hospitals throughout the United States. ? References PR Newswire (2009, October 20). Mendocino Coast District Hospital Becomes One of Nation’s First ’Healing Hospitals’.
Pr Newswire. Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com. library. gcu. edu:2048/docview/447785957? accountid=7374 Dunn, L. (2010). CREATING HEALING ENVIRONMENTS:A CHALLENGE FOR NURSING. Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care, 10(2), 3-4. Retrieved from http://eds. a. ebscohost. com. library. gcu. edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer? sid=de4e6848-c786-49d8-b141-94192d59b171%40sessionmgr4002&vid=2&hid=4110 Eberst, L. (2008, Mar/Apr). Arizona Medical Center Shows How to Be a ’Healing Hospital’. Health Progress, 89, 77-79. Retrieved from.