Optimizing the Healing Environment

The environment can play a great role in how people function in their daily life. Every aspect of the environment can have an effect on the people that experience it, either positively or negatively. This is also true in health care where there is a relationship between the healing environment and the outcome of the patient. The healing environment is anything that the patient encounters in that setting which can be the décor, lighting, furniture, or room color.

Nursing was intended to be the act of utilizing the environment of the patient to promote recovery and healing. However, today hospitals can be viewed as anything but an optimal healing environment due to constant interruptions, noise, and increased pressure placed on nurses to perform tasks. Therefore, the healing process is then hindered by the nature of the hospital system.

Here are a few ways you can optimize the healing environment for your patients and even for yourself at home:

Aromatherapy – Certain scents such as Lavender can assist in decreasing anxiety.

Increase natural light – Open the blinds in the room and let the natural light shine through. Are you sad when winter comes along but are happier in the summer? Natural light is linked to increased serotonin levels, which improves mood.

Give yourself sufficient space – Have you ever came home from a long day to an unclean house and felt anxious? Clearing clutter is vital for optimizing your healing environment.

Breathe in fresh air – Open the window and/or go for a walk. Not only will you get Vitamin D from the sunlight, but you’ll also enhance the gas exchange of the lungs by bringing in more oxygen to the cells.

Surrounding yourself with colors of nature – Critical Care Medicine recommends artwork of nature in greens and blues due to its ability to decrease stress levels for patients.

Nurses have the responsibility to apply integrative therapies as appropriate, therefore, consider these methods to optimize healing for patients and for your own lives. Always remember that healing of the body begins with healing of the mind and spirit.

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