The Healing Power of the Outdoors
Yesterday afternoon I stood witness as an elderly patient with respiratory failure cherished the feeling of wind on his face on a clear and crisp autumn day. It was exhilarating.
Armed with a portable ventilator and a respiratory therapist, Robert Cox smiled from ear to ear as he drank in his surroundings that included a lavish koi pond and colorful seasonal plantings.
In whispered tones, the former Marine described the newly opened Inspiration Garden at Spaulding North Shore in Salem, MA, as "marvelous" and "charming." During his 2.5-year stay at the rehab hospital, the vent-assisted patient has not been able to revel in and enjoy the change of seasons, hear birds chirping or feel the warmth of the sun on his face.
The 2,900-square-foot garden contains special equipment and gases to allow patients on life-giving devices to go outdoors for extended periods of time. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors helps patients reconnect to the real world and to potentially make mental, physical and emotional improvements.
Please check back with ADVANCE to view photos of Mr. Cox's visit to the rehab hospital's new inspiration garden and learn what his therapists and nurses have to say about the benefits of providing an outdoor environment to even the sickest of patients.
In the meantime I know that I, for one, will walk outdoors with a new appreciation for the sights, sounds and smells around me and will think of what Mr. Cox might enjoy during his next outing.