Spring has finally sprung across the country. And at DMA4Families, the budding trees and blooming flowers in nature remind us how much the environment around you — can impact how you feel. TMC Furniture’s founders, Blake Ratcliffe and Sherri Moore, are well aware of this connection; along with nature’s ability to have an effect on your healing process. They are often inspired to use nature in their furniture designs to help create a special space that provides comfort in what can otherwise be a stressful healthcare environment.
There are three ways DMA4Families has found nature can be used in a hospital or healthcare setting to reduce stress:
Nature Distracts: Studies show nature is a therapeutic distraction, and even short-term exposure to it can reduce stress. Research by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka shows the stress of an unpleasant hospital or healthcare environment can cause a patient to feel anxious, sad, or helpless. A pleasing environment, including scenes of nature, is associated with more positive feelings. TMC Furniture uses an abundance of animals and nature in a variety of ways in both play and waiting rooms, and this example of its use at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Women’s and Children’s Hospital, is colorful and calming. You’ll find a combination of wood-sculptured trees and birds, along with bright, comfy furniture featuring frogs and owls strategically placed to help distract kids while in the waiting area.
Nature Soothes: Nature can help patients cope with pain. Research shows trees, plants, water, and other natural elements can soothe a patient’s discomfort and stress. More hospitals and healthcare facilities, like Cooper University Health Care in Camden, New Jersey, are adding nature-inspired pieces to an already colorful design, like this bright green leaf table with matching stools. It’s made just for kids, and meant to create a relaxing environment inside its health care center. TMC Furniture also has a brand new Zetty Garden line, with a canopy of trees covering a play table, and soft, bright cube stools surrounding it, along with a choice of stool-backs painted with playful flowers, fruits, or vegetables.
Nature Heals: Scenes highlighting nature can reduce anger, fear, and stress, while increasing pleasant feelings, leading to better physical well-being, including a reduction in muscle tension, heart rate, and blood pressure. Public health researchers have found when hospitals or healthcare facilities include areas inspired by nature, like this beautiful TMC Furniture design of a tree canopy with pretty dappled light and made of real wood — it can have a huge impact on the healing process. St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, Wisconsin, and Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Islip, New York are two healthcare facilities where a landscape is being created inside to help patients heal.
The idea of using nature is also supported by the Center for Health Design. It identifies the beauty of the outdoors, brought indoors, as one of the key factors that can reduce patient and staff stress, leading to higher levels of satisfaction.
Finally, DMC4Families finds the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Hospitals (JCAHO) is recommending patients and visitors have opportunities to connect with nature through indoor decor, atriums, and plants, along with creating beautiful views from the windows, and easy connections to the outside.
Learn more about bringing nature into a healthcare environment, by going to our website, here.