The Art of Healing and Recovery After Surgery
"A landmark 1984 study published in Science found that patients recovering from gall bladder surgery recovered more quickly if they were in hospital rooms with a view of trees, as compared to a view of only a brick wall", reports UCSF News in a recent story on the art of healing.
"The patients were in the same suburban hospital with the same nurses in rooms that were close to identical, but those who could view nature required less potent painkillers and had shorter postoperative stays. This set the stage for a flurry of other research on design variables in health care settings that posed the same question: Could healing be about more than good medicine and empathetic clinicians? Not every hospital room can offer patients a bucolic view, so researchers sought to find out if art depicting a pleasing scene might deliver the same positive effects.
Indeed, multiple studies have shown that a hospital’s physical environment is much more than a backdrop for health care delivery. The presence of nature scenes and art has a measurable impact on patients’ pain levels.
For example, for about 75 percent of burn victims, painkillers fail to alleviate their pain. In a small 1992 study in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, researchers experimented with using videos of “scenic beauty” as a distraction technique. Patients with severe burns reported lower pain intensity during dressing changes when shown the beautiful videos in addition to their medication.