Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Those flowers and potted plants do help you recover faster

Have you ever wondered why people send flowers to those who are sick or who had surgery? Of course, it's because they want to brighten up the room with color and life, but there's more to it than that. Believe it or not, blooming flowers do encourage healing and potted plants are even better, say researchers.

According to a study published in the October 2008 issue of HortTechnology, confirmed "the beneficial effects of plants and flowers for patients recovering from abdominal surgery."

Patients were randomly assigned to hospital rooms with or without plants during their postoperative recovery periods. Data collected for the study included information on the length of hospitalization, administration of drugs for postoperative pain control, vital signs, ratings of pain intensity, distress, fatigue and anxiety, and the patient's room satisfaction questionnaire.

Patients with plants in their rooms had significantly fewer intakes of pain medication, more positive physiological responses (lower blood pressure and heart rate), less pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and better overall positive and higher satisfaction with their recovery rooms than their counterparts in the control group without plants in their rooms.

An interesting note to this study—the majority of patients who had plants in their rooms reported that the plants were the most positive qualities of their rooms (93%), whereas patients without plants in their rooms said that watching television was the most favorable aspect of their rooms (91%).

The study suggests that potted plants offer the most benefit, as opposed to cut flowers, because of their longevity. Nursing staff reported that as patients recovered, they began to show interaction with the plants, including watering, pruning, and moving them for a better view or light. A number of studies have also shown that indoor plants make air healthier and provide an optimum indoor environment by increasing humidity, and reducing the quantity of mold spores and airborne germs.

This nonpharmacological approach to recovery is good news for patients, doctors, and insurers alike in terms of cost effectiveness and medical benefits. The study provides strong evidence that contact with plants is directly beneficial to patients' health, providing meaningful therapeutic contact for patients recovering from painful surgery.

That is interesting. I know as a nurse, people should be careful about what kinds of plants and flowers they send. Strong smelling blooms, like lilies, can be overwhelming in a small hospital room and senders also need to be aware of allergies for both other patients and the healthcare professionals. My youngest son is allergic to lilies and has a hard time being in the same room as lilies in bloom. If someone is a healthcare professional and has an allergy like my son's, it could be difficult for them to give proper care, especially in an emergency.

There are several types of flowers that don't have deep scents and, as the press release says, potted plants are a great option as well.


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