Plants can be a welcome addition to any interior space. From offices and retail locations to homes, plants bring a natural look to an interior. But what about hospitals? Many people don’t consider how plants could benefit the clinical interior of a hospital, but several hospitals are starting to design their buildings with more plants included. Here are some reasons why you might consider adding foliage to your medical building.
One of the most popular reasons hospitals use plants is for their air purification capabilities. Plants can remove all types of particulates from the air, from bacteria and mold to common toxins. That’s right, toxins — even hospitals use products with toxic emissions, like paper products, furniture and cleaning liquids.
Patients and hospital staff alike can benefit from the removal of such particulates and toxins, and some hospitals that have already started installing plants have noticed a substantial decrease in headaches, dizziness, drowsiness and throat, skin and eye irritation among patients and their caretakers.
Combating ‘Sick Building Syndrome’
Sick Building Syndrome, or SBS, is the discomfort and un-wellness that some individuals experience when spending an extended period of time in a single building. The symptoms vary widely, but many professionals theorize that the extended amount of time spent exposed to indoor toxins may increase a person’s sensitivity to those toxins. Therefore, by removing those toxins from the air with plants, hospitals can actively combat the symptoms of SBS and improve patients’ comfort during their stay.
Mood and Morale Improvement
Hospitals can be scary for many people, especially those going in for dangerous surgeries or procedures. By improving their décor, hospitals can relieve some of that trepidation.
Plants are some of the most effective decorating elements for this purpose, boosting the moods of people that view them and relieving anxiety and depression significantly. Part of this quality is owed to the air purifying nature of plants and the fact that they remove carbon dioxide from the air. Another part of it, however, is our psychological affinity for plants and nature along with the positive feelings we have toward living plants.
Noise is a common source of stress for both patients and hospital staff, which is why many hospitals have been working to improve their soundproofing. Fortunately, this is another area in which plants excel. They absorb sound very well, reducing the noise level in rooms substantially and serving as a buffer for rooms and lobbies alike.
The benefits of plant life in a hospital extend as much to the staff as they do to the patients. Plants in the workspace not only improve employee health through improved air quality but also help improve mood, concentration, stress levels and cognitive function. These benefits are attributed to a combination of air purification and the psychological effects of plants.
One of the most powerful benefits of having plants in hospitals is their stress-relieving nature. Stress is a dangerous problem in hospitals, contributing to feelings of fear, anxiety and sadness and even leading to physical symptoms like tension, fatigue and pain. Stress can also impact healing since the stress hormone cortisol interferes with the body’s ability to heal. By simply looking at plants around the hospital, patients can feel a greater sense of ease, which reduces stress levels and allows their bodies to heal properly.
Best Plants for Use in Hospitals
Choosing the right plant for your hospital will largely depend on your goals. If you’re looking for plants for hospital rooms to improve air quality, here are a couple of great options:
Boston fern: These plants are an excellent choice for removing formaldehyde and other toxins from the air. Though finicky, they’re both beautiful and effective — a great addition to hospital rooms and lobbies.
English ivy: English ivy is an air filtration powerhouse, and it’s extremely flexible in terms of shape. Easy to grow and a beautiful choice for plant walls, the English ivy is a great formaldehyde filter for hospitals.
Ferns: These feathery-leaved plants are subtle enough for most locations, and they’re excellent at removing air pollutants — especially common cleaning toxins.
Gerbera daisies: These popular flowers are excellent formaldehyde filters and great for added color.
Orchids: While they have a reputation for being finicky, orchids are surprisingly easy to care for indoors, and they are excellent at filtering the air.
Palm trees: Palm trees are great for formaldehyde and carbon monoxide filtration, and they’re easy to care for.
Fig trees: Fig trees are common hospital staples, serving as excellent filters for pollutants and airborne bacteria. On top of that, they grow well, making them a great choice for lobbies with taller ceilings.
Rubber plants: Rubber plants are a great choice for hospitals, filtering the air of pollutants while requiring little light and watering.
These suggestions are intended for indoor hospital plants. If your hospital is looking for outdoor plants for a garden, you can talk to your local plant designer for appropriate suggestions. For the best advice on which plants to get and how to arrange them in and around your hospital building, look for professional hospital plant design services like those from Plant Escape.
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Plant Escape is a professional plant design and care service in Denver. For over 40 years, we have provided personalized foliage design and maintenance services to businesses — including hospitals — in and around the Denver area, earning ourselves a reputation for quality service and excellent design. If you’re looking for trusted advice for your residential or commercial building’s plant renovation, Plant Escape is the right choice. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate at 303.584.0496.