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Healing the Whole Person: A Post Occupancy Evaluation of the Rooftop Therapy Park at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee

This study used a post occupancy evaluation to assess the impact of an existing hospital garden on its users. Previous studies of hospital gardens have been of passive garden use. This study addressed gardens including physical therapy, while also considering the emotional, spiritual, and social aspects. The POE included behavioral observation, interviews with the designer and lead therapist, a staff survey, and a patient questionnaire. In light of historical information and contemporary theory, the results revealed issues to be addressed in the design process of future healing gardens, specifically those including physical therapy. The major issues included: the need for research of similar gardens when designing new ones and the consideration of all users in the design process, visibility of the garden from indoors and a strong indoor outdoor connection, provisions for inclement weather, accessibility, thoughtful plantings, careful maintenance, and volunteer support. These issues and contemporary theories were used to develop design guidelines specifically for gardens including physical therapy. These guidelines included designing goal-oriented spaces, using appropriate plant material, coordinating volunteer groups to support horticulture therapy, and increasing the dialogue between health care professionals and designers. The study concluded with the need for design professionals to be involved with initial design and site planning phases of hospital campuses. Simple landscaped areas and entrance beautification must not be substituted for healing spaces. Indoor gardens such as atriums and solariums need study. Future studies will require studying different populations for more specific garden design. The quantitative relationship between physical, emotional, spiritual and social healing may need defining to establish the permanency of gardens in health care settings and greater society. Landscape architects have the opportunity to use contemporary research to design gardens that impart healing to the human body in a new and profound way.
Date22 January 2002
CreatorsDavis, Brad Edward
ContributorsAnne Spafford
Source SetsLouisiana State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
Rightsunrestricted, I hereby grant to LSU or its agents the right to archive and to make available my thesis or dissertation in whole or in part in the University Libraries in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all proprietary rights, such as patent rights. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis or dissertation.

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