Healing gardens in the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital: Reflections on benefits, preferences and design from bench diaries
Reeve, Angela, Desha, Cheryl, & Nieberler-Walker, Katharina (2015) Healing gardens in the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital: Reflections on benefits, preferences and design from bench diaries. In Children's Health Queensland Research Day, 11 December 2015, Brisbane, Qld. (Unpublished)
Interest in the use of healing gardens in healthcare settings to provide therapeutic benefits is increasing, however insight is needed to determine whether patients, patient families and friends, and staff who spend time in these gardens use these in the manner for which they were designed, and experience the benefits suggested by broader research in this field.
Visitors to four of the LCCH gardens have left comments in ‘bench diaries’ (visitors books). Analysis of these comments yields valuable insights into the use of the gardens, enabling reflection on the design intent and outcomes and guidance regarding how the gardens might be better utilised, as well as a basis for further investigation into the use and value of the gardens.
Comments have been coded and analysed using a thematic analysis approach to identify patterns relating to the reasons for which people appear to come to the healing gardens; benefits they appear to receive from spending time there; and features and aspects of the gardens that they appear to appreciate in particular. Only comments related to the gardens have been used in this analysis, with all comments being deidentified.
Comments left in the Adventure Garden and Secret Garden bench diaries were used for the analysis, as Staff Garden and Babies Garden bench diary comments did not relate to the garden. There were no negative comments relating to the gardens, other than one comment requesting additional benches. The vast majority of comments expressed gratitude for the space.
The four most frequently observed themes from the comments left in the Secret Garden Bench Diary indicated that they were seeking ‘time out’ from their experiences of being at the hospital, a desire for a ‘dose of nature’ (greenery, beautiful garden, etc), and fresh air, and that the garden space provided a restorative experience to them in some manner. Comments in the Adventure Garden Bench Diary related predominately to the view. Analysis of the comments emphasises the importance of gardens providing multi-sensory experiences that significantly differentiate the space from the hospital ward and provide visitors with a sense of being away, of peacefulness, and of familiarity with the outside world. Positioning gardens with prospect, and solar aspect, appears important in these regards, as does the presence of visible greenery. Adequate seating in locations that provide pleasing views appears particularly important for staff and adult visitors. Whilst comments in the Bench Diaries did not indicate direct awareness of the stress and anxiety-reducing effects that research elsewhere has found from viewing plants and nature, however these effects may underpin many of these experiences that visitors did share.
Impact and interest:
Citation counts are sourced monthly from and citation databases.
These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.
Citations counts from theindexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.
Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.
Repository Staff Only: item control page