A garden does not bloom overnight but Nemours Children’s Hospital is making sure the new pediatric hospital will be surrounded by lush landscaping when it opens this coming October in Lake Nona Medical City, near the Orlando International Airport. Today, a full-grown Sand Live Oak tree was planted on the hospital’s fourth floor balcony garden. Using cranes and bulldozers, crews carefully hoisted the 40 year old tree into the air and delicately placed it into the dedicated garden space. The 6,000 pound tree, which was grown in Ormond Beach, will help fill out the 10-thousand square foot garden designed with the help of occupational and physical therapists who will use the space as part of a patient’s rehabilitation.
“One of the many ways that our design is unique is that we are a hospital built within a garden,” said Mike Cluff, staff architect for N
emours Children’s Hospital. “We fully understand the important role nature plays in the healing process and promotes our patient’s recovery, so we took advantage of the space and incorporated natural settings into our facility’s design – both inside and out.”
On the second floor, a 7-thousand square foot balcony garden will offer a distraction to families while a child is in surgery. The balcony is just off the surgical commons area where families gather. It will also provide a quiet refuge for staff. Nemours Children’s Hospital’s 1-acre Discovery Garden will bring together nature and art by featuring five interactive areas devoted to the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. The design includes lushly planted gardens with features such as xylophone benches, a hedge maze, sculptures, water features, herb and vegetable gardens, fragrant flowers and plants and percussion art.
“Sometimes you just need a break from the hospital room,” said Lynda Griffin, Family Advisory Council co-chair, Nemours Children’s Hospital. She has spent countless hours in a hospital with her 6 year old son Cian, who has Cystic Fibrosis, a chronic lung disease that also affects the digestive system. “Knowing that you can step out, immediately be in touch with nature and forget where you are is sure to have a positive impact on the youngest of patients and their families,” said Griffin.
Extensive research has shown that that it is essential to incorporate nature into a patient’s hospital stay. Views of nature, natural light, soothing colors and therapeutic sounds can enhance the healing process which is why Nemours Children’s Hospital has dedicated more than 40-acres to outdoor space.
“A significant amount of research now tells us that designing a healing environment within a hospital can promote faster recovery, shorten hospital stays, decrease pain and even reduce the staff’s stress levels. It’s a holistic approach that will help us deliver the very best care to our patients,” said Tami Anderson, director of critical care services at Nemours Children’s Hospital.
In total, the Nemours Children’s Hospital grounds will have:
o Close to 1,000 trees (Myrtle Palms, Oaks, Cypress, Sabal Palms)
o Over 55-thousand shrubs and ground covers
o Over 67-hundred Aquatic Plants
o 368-thousand square feet of perennials, grass mixes and sod
Nemours Children’s Hospital will be home to some of the top pediatric specialists in the country and will offer specialized care that is not currently available in Central Florida. The 630,000 sq. ft facility has been designed for families by families.
Nemours (NAH-mors) is an internationally recognized children’s health system that owns and operates the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, along with major pediatric specialty clinics in Delaware, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 2012, it will open the full-service Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida.
Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. du Pont, Nemours offers pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs to all families in the communities it serves. For more information, visit www.Nemours.org