Effects of Healing Garden Use on Stress Experienced by Parents of Patients in a Pediatric Hospital
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The newly built Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas was designed with an understanding of the healing power of nature. A perspective randomized design with pre-post measures Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) was conducted to test whether the hospital’s Healing Garden had an effect on the stress levels of parents of pediatric hospital patients. Participants were asked to sit and relax in the Healing Garden for ten-minutes. Two differing interior spaces, one with views to nature and one without views to nature, were tested as comparisons. Data was collected in the form of surveys and behavioral observation. Results indicate that the Healing Garden reduced the stress of parents at a greater rate than the two interior spaces included in the study. However, the two interior spaces did not differ in their stress reducing effects despite one having views to nature. Comments from parents indicated a slight stress relieving effect by simply leaving their patient’s room. These research findings should be used to encourage parents and other adult family members to use the hospital’s gardens to reduce stress felt from their patient’s medical treatment. Further studies need to be conducted to provide more conclusive data.
Toone, Traci L. (2008). Effects of Healing Garden Use on Stress Experienced by Parents of Patients in a Pediatric Hospital. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from