Hospitality plants refer to plants that are commonly used in the hospitality industry, such as ferns, palms, and bamboo. The flowers and plants in the rooms of hospitalized patients may be more than just pleasing to the eye. They might help improve patient health, according to a study published in HortTechnology (June 2012).
In this study, researchers at Western Kentucky University measured the physiologic responses of patients. They were exposed to flowering and green indoor plants for 1 hour or more.
The study included healthy adults and patients in the coronary care unit of a rural, nonprofit hospital in Kentucky. Plants used for the study consisted of 15 types of potted plants: 5 flowering houseplants (Chrysanthemum morifolium ‘Little Charlie,’ Hypoestes Phyllostachys, Plectranthus ‘Siam Queen,’ Spathiphyllum ‘Clevelandii,’ and Begoniaceae) and 10 green houseplants (Aglaonema commutatum, Aspidistra elatior, Ficus Benjamina, Spathiphyllum perezii, Philodendron scandens, Ficus pumila var. pumila, Cordyline terminalis, Dracaena marginata, Aglaonema modestum ‘Raven,’ and Sansevieria trifasciata). Plants were placed in 20 patient rooms for 2 weeks. While patients recovered from an acute medical condition (e.g., heart attack, pneumonia). Plants were removed and physiologic responses to plants were again measured for four more weeks.
Agitation levels of patients decreased after exposure to the plant flowers and foliage, with a greater reduction observed in healthier participants than in those with acute medical illnesses. Overall blood pressure was also reduced in both groups, but more so in healthy participants (7.0%). Heart rate was not affected, suggesting that the observed decreases in agitation and blood pressure were not caused by sedation. The study also found an increase in serum cortisol during the first exposure phase but no change during later exposures when patients were more familiar with the plants.
The authors of this study said that their results suggest positive relationships between humans and plants. They said further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of these plant-related physiologic responses and to investigate how interior landscaping might influence health care outcomes.
The researchers also noted that future research should include in-depth interviews with patients to determine preferences for specific types of plants and flowers, as well as preferred frequencies and durations of exposure.
Plants and flowers in hospital rooms have been shown to decrease patient anxiety and pain, improve mood, promote healing of surgery sites, reduce blood pressure, and increase positive feelings towards physicians. This study looked specifically at the effects on patients’ physiologic response when they were exposed to flowering and green plants. Plants used in this study included both houseplants and common store-bought flowers.
Plants were placed in the rooms of patients. Who had recently been admitted to a rural hospital for heart attacks or pneumonia. Then their physiologic responses (blood pressure, respiratory rate, agitation) were measured before exposure to plants. While they were exposed to the flowers and foliage of 15 different types of plants for an hour at a time over the course of two weeks. When the patients were re-exposed to the same plants four more weeks later. Plants were removed during this latter phase but the physiologic response was still measured.
Patients’ agitation levels decreased significantly after exposure to the plant flowers and foliage, with a greater reduction observed in healthier participants than those who were acutely ill. Overall blood pressure was also reduced in both groups, but more so in healthy participants. Heart rate was not affected by plants. This means that decreases seen in agitation and blood pressure were not caused by sedation or other central nervous system-mediated effects. Plants did not appear to have any effect on respiratory rate. The study also found an increase in serum cortisol during the first exposure phase. But no change during later exposures when patients were more familiar with the plants.
The authors’ results suggest that positive relationships exist between humans and plants, as they are able to elicit physiologic changes in the body. Further research is needed to understand the mechanisms of these plant-related physiologic responses and investigate how interior landscaping might influence health care outcomes. The researchers also note that future studies should include in-depth interviews with patients to determine preferences for specific types of plants and flowers, as well as preferred frequencies and durations of exposure.
A few Feedbacks on this:
- “Plants in hospital wards enhance recovery and reduce health care costs.” (J Altern Complement Med.)
- Plants improve patients’ moods and well-being. (Hort Tech.)
- Effect of interior landscaping on patient satisfaction and perceived control. (Hort Tech).
- Plants help to reduce the recovery time of patients in hospital rooms. With plants and flowers had significantly more positive physiologic responses. (Nurs Sci Q).