Icons of Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design: Leah Diehl

The Greenhouse at Wilmot Gardens, which houses the Therapeutic Horticulture Program image: Leah Diehl
The Greenhouse at Wilmot Gardens, which houses the Therapeutic Horticulture Program
image: Leah Diehl

Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design Interview Series: Elizabeth “Leah” Diehl, RLA, HTM

Our second in the series of interviews takes us to the College of Medicine Healing Gardens and Teaching Laboratory at the University of Florida Medical School. Leah Diehl is a landscape architect and registered horticultural therapist who is responsible for building an amazing series of programs at Wilmot Gardens at the University of Florida.

Wilmot Gardens, on the University of Florida campus, is located in the heart of the Southeast’s largest academic health center. The gardens are dedicated to advancing patient care, research, and service through its vibrant and growing therapeutic horticulture program. The Therapeutic Horticulture Program at Wilmot Gardens resides at the core of the garden’s mission to improve lives through gardening.

As a side note, the gardens are open to the public year-round and boast an unrivaled collection of camellias in North Central Florida. Wilmot Gardens is named for Royal James Wilmot, who was a horticulturist with the Agricultural Experiment Station at UF in the 1940s. He founded the American Camellia Society in Gainesville.

Throughout these interviews, we are reaching out to landscape architects who have been instrumental in leading the design and development of Healthcare and Therapeutic Gardens. We would like people to know more about the leaders in the field of Healthcare and Therapeutic Garden design in order to illustrate the greater relevance of this field.

The following interview with Leah was conducted by Jack Carman, FASLA, past chair and current officer of the Healthcare & Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network (PPN). Leah was reached by phone between therapeutic horticulture sessions.

Continue reading

Icons of Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design

Anne's Garden, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, Georgia image: © The Fockele Garden Company / courtesy of Naomi Sachs
Anne’s Garden, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville, Georgia
image: © The Fockele Garden Company / courtesy of Naomi Sachs

Healthcare & Therapeutic Garden Design Interview Series: Naomi Sachs, ASLA

In starting this series, we are reaching out to landscape architects who have been instrumental in leading the design and development of Healthcare and Therapeutic Gardens. We want readers to get to know the leaders in this field, and also see the relevance of therapeutic design and its connections to other practice areas. The aim of this interview series is to tell the story, through firsthand accounts from key individuals, of recent developments and innovations in healthcare and therapeutic design. With input from a range of professionals, we hope to create a better picture of what landscape architects in therapeutic design are working on, and also get to know the people behind the projects that are being done.

One of the first people we have spoken with is Naomi Sachs, ASLA. Naomi has her Masters from UC Berkeley in Landscape Architecture and is currently pursuing her PhD in Architecture at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. She has been a tireless advocate for the recognition of the importance of our connection to nature and the benefits that are derived from this interaction. Naomi may be most widely known from her work in developing the Therapeutic Landscapes Network, a tremendous resource for information related to the field of healthcare gardens and landscapes for health. Naomi’s most recent venture has been the publication of the book Therapeutic Landscapes: An Evidence-Based Approach to Designing Healing Gardens and Restorative Outdoor Spaces with Clare Cooper Marcus. (Further information on Naomi’s background can be found at www.naomisachsdesign.com).

Continue reading

Your Brain on Water

Reflection on water at the Chicago Botanic Garden image: Jack Carman
Reflection on water at the Chicago Botanic Garden
image: Jack Carman

Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do
Wallace J. Nichols
2015

When I heard writer and sea turtle expert Wallace J. Nichols speak in Sausalito last summer, I was delighted by how much of what he said resembled the science behind why nature is good for our health and well-being. He quoted much of the same research we landscape architects do when promoting healthcare and therapeutic gardens. I knew I had to read his book, and I was amazed by the range of information that he brings together as both a scientist and an unabashed ocean lover in his book Blue Mind.

Blue Mind is an enjoyable read about the numinous experience of water, coupled with an urgent message to wake up to what is ‘hidden in plain sight’ in the hopes that we humans can transform the way we treat our planet’s resources. Nichols shares a strong emotional connection to this liquid element, as do many people who are willing to pay a lot of money to travel to beautiful beaches for vacations and spend top dollar for the house with a view of the water. For those of us who are curious to know what’s up with that from a scientific evidence point of view, this book explains the psychology and physiology of why we want and need the benefits associated with spending time in the presence of water.

In Blue Mind, Nichols makes an appeal to a broad range of people who might not feel convinced that emotion alone is a serious enough reason to cherish and protect this basic resource. He demonstrates the phenomenon of how people are attracted to water with cultural data, and how we are physically wired to benefit from the symbolism, physicality, color, sound, and essence of water as we encounter it in the environment, citing recent neuroscience studies and plenty of footnotes to point the reader to explore the topic further. Be prepared to dive deep from the comfort of your reading chair.

Continue reading

Healthcare & Therapeutic Design in Chicago

The Crown Sky Garden, at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, designed by Mikyoung Kim Design image: Marni Barnes
The Crown Sky Garden, at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, designed by Mikyoung Kim Design
image: Marni Barnes

If you are considering attending the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in Chicago this November, you have until June 19 to register at the early bird rate. You know you want to go, so register now so you don’t have to pay more money (like I did last year :-/ ).

Here are a few sessions on topics that might influence your decision:

Chicago’s Therapeutic Healing Spaces
Friday, November 6, 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Urban Green Space and Mental Well-being: Evidence-Based Design
Friday, November 6, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM

Designing Incentives for Health
Saturday, November 7, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Evidence-based Design: Sensory Play Gardens and Children with Developmental Disorders
Sunday, November 8, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN Meeting
Sunday, November 8, 12:45 PM – 2:15 PM

An Integrated Interdisciplinary Approach to Therapeutic Design
Monday, November 9, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Fortunately, these sessions were scheduled with no overlaps, so you could attend them all! Unfortunately, there are other related topics that also look enticing, some of which do overlap, that you may want to consider.

I’ve listed several sessions of interest, as well as more information on the above sessions, below, complete with times, descriptions, and speakers. See the Annual Meeting website for more information on the more than 130 education sessions, field sessions, workshops, and general sessions that will be offered throughout the meeting.

Continue reading

The Future of Aging

Russian River and Ocean 12x4 image: Annette Heacox
Russian River and Ocean 12×4
image: Annette Heacox

“The young and even the middle-aged can’t truly appreciate what it is to be old.” (-) “The sheer aloneness and inescapability of it. A different shore. You have gone somewhere and you aren’t coming back.” 

Why do we run away from aging in our current society? Aging is an unavoidable reality. Regardless of what we do to our bodies and minds, we age. But can racing against aging become embracing our golden years?

In this admittedly non-academic post, I share hopes and fears and also my research on the topic of aging. A few years ago, I wrote a questionnaire targeting the elderly population. Aging should concern us all, and we urgently need new attitudes and answers.

I want to challenge that vision of running away from aging. I’ll brainstorm some answers and propose new ideas partially based on the questionnaire I addressed to seniors. We are tomorrow’s elderly; there is always hope.

Continue reading

Healing Gardens as Transformative Spaces

In the labyrinth with Air (one of the four sculptural elements) at Schneider Healing Garden at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center image: Brad Feinknopf
In the Schneider Healing Garden’s labyrinth at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland
image: Brad Feinknopf

Below is an excerpt from the article “‘It’s Somewhere Else Instead’: Healing Gardens as Transformative Spaces,” published in the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects’ LANDSCAPES | PAYSAGES magazine. To read the full article, visit CSLA’s website and see volume 16, number 2, pages 20-23.

Healing gardens are intentionally designed to provide a physical space that supports people who are dealing with disruptions in their lives that make the present confusing and the future uncertain. Whether a person with a challenging health issue, a loved one, or a caregiver, one is waiting in liminal space, suspended at the threshold of new experiences.

Continue reading

Healing Labyrinth for Cancer Support

image: Thomas Baker
image: Thomas Baker

[The labyrinth] is…at once the cosmos, the world, the individual life, the temple, the town, man, the womb—or intestines of the Mother (earth), the convolutions of the brain, the consciousness, the heart, the pilgrimage, the journey, and the Way.
–Jill Purce, The Mystic Spiral

The Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support was built in 2000 as part of the Athens Regional Medical Center (ARMC). The Center serves the community of Athens, GA and the northeast region of the state. It is a welcoming “safe harbor” for anyone affected by cancer and provides resources, research, and access to social services, as well as a supportive therapeutic outdoor environment for patients and their families as they deal with the physical, social, and emotional impacts of cancer treatment. The Center and surrounding gardens also serves ARMC medical professionals and caregivers who care for these patients and their families.

Construction on the Loran Smith Center began in 1999. With therapeutic gardens and healing landscapes as her research area, Professor Marguerite Koepke saw this as a special opportunity to establish a dialogue with the hospital and Center. ARMC was very receptive to the collaboration and Koepke prepared the first master plan for their approximately two-acre site.

At that time, Koepke was also establishing a new semester-long course in therapeutic garden and healing landscapes design at the University of Georgia (UGA). She saw her relationship with the ARMC and the Center as an important opportunity to involve students in local service learning projects, especially those in medical settings, with real clients and real sites. Over the years, as the ARMC campus has grown and changed, her classes have been involved in multiple projects, including several revised master plans and small garden area designs. Design elements in these long-term master plans have typically included a grotto, a meditation/labyrinth garden, memorial garden and numerous naming opportunities, a wetland meadow with observation points for quiet meditation, woodland walking paths, small play areas for young users, and an area designated for a small greenhouse to support horticulture therapy and year-round use.

Continue reading

Healing Gardens: Therapeutic by Design

Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton has a 3,000-square-foot rooftop garden that serves its oncology department.  image: Hafs Epstein Landscape Architecture
Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton has a 3,000 square-foot rooftop garden that serves its oncology department.
image: Hafs Epstein Landscape Architecture

Do you think all gardens are therapeutic? Can a “healing garden” be harmful?

Gardens with particular characteristics have been shown to have positive effects in health outcomes, primarily through the facilitation of stress reduction, but the answer is that many gardens are not therapeutic, and some gardens may actually increase stress levels in humans.

Stress can lead to several adverse health outcomes and should be ameliorated by design, so why do some (even award-winning) healing gardens fail? The article “Not all healing gardens deliver as advertised,” published on DJC.com, provides three general principles that are essential for gardens to provide positive results, and list several factors that limit the benefits gardens can provide.

Continue reading

Landscape Architecture Awards for Healthcare Environments

image: Healthcare Vendome Media
image: Vendome Healthcare Media

Vendome Group, publisher of Healthcare Design, Environments for Aging, and Behavioral Healthcare, in conjunction with The Center for Health Design and The Society for the Advancement of Gerontological Environments, is launching their inaugural design awards program this fall. This is the first such awards program that is specifically for therapeutic landscape design, recognizing projects in three major categories: acute care, senior living, and behavioral health.

The significance of the new awards program lies in its focus on therapeutic landscapes and its sponsorship by The Center for Health Design, the leading voice in the healthcare design industry for architects, interior designers, and hospital administrators. These awards represent an important step toward the more integrated design of healthcare environments. Never before have landscape architects had the opportunity to be recognized specifically for their accomplishments in healthcare design.

I’d like to encourage everyone who has built work in this niche market of our profession to submit your projects and to showcase the great work that we do. If you believe that your work makes a meaningful difference in this industry, then please demonstrate that and share your best projects. We will all benefit from your success.

Entry forms are due September 20, and information on how to enter can be found on Healthcare Design’s website.

Good luck!

by Jerry Smith, FASLA

On ‘Designing for Access to Nature in Healthcare’

Mary Catherine bunting Center
Mary Catherine Bunting Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore
image: Patrick Ross via Healthcare Design Magazine

Making the connection between health and nature would seem to be an obvious one, especially when we consider the emerging research on measuring health outcomes in nature or when simply viewing any variety of nature’s wonders.  And it would seem that our work as landscape architects in this field should be a no-brainer – particularly in healthcare design, right?

But there are other functions that enter into this transitioning equation which impact and influence how we bring nature into a sterile built environment.  Global issues like sustainability, aesthetics, social and cultural factors, or more specific issues like infection control.  How do we blend these synergies of influence from such disparate fields in ways that will help us to design positive interventions that will simply help people get through their good days and their bad?

The answers seem to be coming not only from the design studios but from a collection of sources and resources, like a broad ‘band of brothers’, focusing on human connections and place making.  Researchers, social scientists, strategic planners, landscape architects – like Angela Loder, University of Denver; Francis (Ming) Kuo, University of Illinois; Kathy Wolf, Washington University; Robert Ryan, UMASS Amherst; Len Hopper, FASLA, and Rodney Swink, FASLA, to name a few – all of whom are making a difference in how we collaborate and connect people with the benefits of nature through design.

I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with these ‘change makers’ on the Human Health and Well-being sub-committee of SITES and with Angela on developing the Living Architecture Performance Tool.  It is Angela’s research on living architecture that this article is focused around, aligned with my work on the Green Guide for Health Care and on the Environmental Standards Council of The Center for Health Design.  We hope this will be the first of several such articles to be published around these transdisciplinary efforts.

Designing for Access to Nature in HealthcareHealthcare Design, July 2013
Written by Angela Loder and Jerry Smith

by Jerry Smith, FASLA

Dementia Green Care Handbook

Dementia Green Care Handbook image: Garuth Chalfont
Dementia Green Care Handbook
image: Garuth Chalfont

As a contribution to the growing body of knowledge and expert guidance on the design and use of outdoor spaces for people with dementia, this handbook addresses the growing need for spaces to be actively used by residents and service users for therapeutic benefit. This handbook resulted from the ‘Therapeutic Dementia Care’ research and design project. In this project, particular attention was paid to the needs of people with dementia and distressed behavior. Hence, the focus is on care environments for nursing, residential, and enhanced day support.

Continue reading

Expanding Horizons: The Life Enrichment Center

Flowers, herbs and fruit are grown in planters and plant beds to give participants the opportunity for cultivation and harvestimage: Dirtworks PC, photo by BBuck
Flowers, herbs and fruit are grown in planters and plant beds to give participants the opportunity for cultivation and harvest
image: Dirtworks PC, photo by BBuck

The Life Enrichment Center is located in the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains. It is a sustainable community-based Adult Day Care facility, serving adults of all ages with a range of physical and mental disabilities and neurological conditions. The Center’s philosophy is to do “whatever it takes” to help families keep adult loved ones at home and engaged in their community.

Enriching and supporting a dignified quality of life is never more poignant than when that life involves degenerative disease.  Complex neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, require concepts of treatment that incorporate both pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological approaches. Medications, the first and often last step in treatment, offer meager solace for people who live daily with these conditions. Like other chronic illnesses that require lifestyle changes such as diabetes, manic depression and AIDS, Alzheimer’s requires a paradigm of care beyond medication that emphasizes living with existing abilities. Key to realizing this necessity is understanding a recent finding in today’s neuroscience: that much remains active and vital in the brain of a person living with dementia and other neurological disorders.1

Continue reading

2012 Healthcare Design Conference, November 3-6, Phoenix, Arizona

image Healthcare Design
image Healthcare Design

Phoenix, AZ offers another conference opportunity for those interested in the design of therapeutic facilities and healing landscapes:

The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Conference is the premier event devoted to how the design of responsibly built environments directly impact the safety, operation, clinical outcomes, and financial success of healthcare facilities now and into the future. With over 4100 participants at the 2011 HEATHCARE DESIGN Conference, this is the industry’s best-attended conference where attendees can earn up to 24 continuing education credits, network with peers, and influence the direction of the industry as it advances into the future.

There are a number of sessions related to the field of landscape architecture.

Continue reading

reserve your seat on the bus

Good Sam__Rick Spalenka
Banner Gateway Hospital
image: Rick Spalenka

Field Session Focus: Therapeutic Gardens for Healing and Respite (FS003)

ASLA 2012, Phoenix, AZ

 

When: Friday, September 28, 7am-4pm

Leaders/Speakers; Seth Placko, Naomi Sachs, Jena Ponti Jauchius, Rick Spalenka, and Kristina Floor

PDH Credits: 5.5

Organized by Phoenix landscape architects with a special interest in outdoor healing environments, this tour focuses on five healing gardens, including designs by ASLA Award recipients Kris Floor, FASLA and Christy Ten Eyck, FASLA. Experience how these gardens enhance well-being, not only for healing patients, but also for their families and caregivers. Tour destinations include gardens at BannerGoodSamaritanHospital, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, ScottsdaleHealthcareThompsonPeakHospital, BannerGatewayHospital, and MercyGilbertHospital.

Continue reading

Concrete Courtyard to Healing Garden

Mercy Southwest Hospital courtyard
Mercy Southwest Hospital courtyard
Image: John Harte

As the current chair of the Healthcare and Therapeutic Design PPN, I was contacted by a writer from the Bakersfield Californian newspaper who was writing an article on one of Bakersfield Mercy Hospital’s new healthcare gardens. Please take a look at the article to discover what is happening in Bakersfield.  Healthcare gardens are replacing dehumanizing concrete entryways.

by:  Rick Spalenka

ASLA 2012 – Several events related to health and well-being

Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, AZ. Ottosen Entry Garden.
Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, AZ. Ottosen Entry Garden.
image: DBG

Time flies, and it seems to fly even faster in the summer. Fall is just around the corner, and seems to be a big conference season.

Over the past few years, we have seen an increase in the number of education sessions, tours, and even keynote speakers (e.g., Dick Jackson AND Esther Sternberg in 2010) at ASLA conferences (and Healthcare Design, and Environments for Aging, etc.). I think it’s an encouraging indication of the growing interest in landscapes for human health and well-being, and also a credit to leaders and members of ASLA’s Healthcare and Therapeutic Design Professional Practice Network.

Continue reading